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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder

Transitioning (No, Not That Transitioning)

Roundabout this time of year, I start obsessing about the change from summer to fall and then to you know what. I prefer not to utter the "W" word until I absolutely have to as in "I hate winter!" or "Winter sucks!"

Last "W," like just about everyone, I stayed put. Vaccines against Covid19 had just become available for the "elderly" (another word that makes me shudder), and the world had shut down. And, yes, misery does love company; still, there was little I could do to stave off the cold and dark and days that ended far too early.

A friend set me up with a huge lightbox that sat on my office desk next to my computer. Did it help me feel better? Maybe, a little. Did it burn the hell out of my eyes and brain? Does a bear shit in the woods? If I am remembering correctly, I returned the lightbox sometime this spring. I have no plans of getting it back.

Since the summer solstice on June 20, we've lost just over one hour of daylight in July and another two minutes per day since then.

And on that fateful day, November 7 this year, Daylight Savings Time ends, and, for me, the descent into Hell begins. It gets dark at 4:15 PM in this neck of the woods. It feels like it's time for bed, but we've got at least another six hours to go.

I know, I know . . . all this cold and darkness encourages us to draw within. It gives us more quiet time (Sounds like damn nursery school, if you ask me.). We aren't running around doing all sorts of fun stuff but sequestered in our homes just like during the pandemic. We have time to read, paint, write, knit, and, oh, yes, complain. The thing is: I don't need Mother Nature to dictate what I can do and when. But She could care less. She's one badass who doesn't take orders from anyone.

Some guru (Or was it my dance teacher?) said "Live the day you're in." Okay, it sounds good, makes sense. There is no future, no past. Only right now, at this moment. When I'm meditating which I don't do much anymore or when I'm in shavasana at the end of a yoga session, I can shut out all that came before and all that I imagine will come after. But being here now is transitory for me, and I bet for a lot of others.

Another wise person suggested that as a writer/a storyteller, I like to fill in the blanks. I'm most comfortable with a beginning, middle, and end and with all loose ends tied together neatly without uncertainty. I'm not comfortable with what could be, might be, should be. When it comes to "W", I have already jumped to conclusions: there will be months spent like the Energizer Bunny whose batteries are about empty. I will muster the desire to do something but without much enthusiasm. Clouds will hang over me wherever I go. I will be one of the millions who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

But I'm jumping ahead, aren't I? Maybe this "W" will be different. Maybe I'll take up cross country skiing. Maybe I'll learn how to grow vegetables in the ice and snow. Perhaps I'll write the great American novel. I'm not convinced.

Tree branches after ice storm

I have a few friends who love "W." One tells me that she sleeps much better and longer. Another isn't as hungry and always loses the weight she's put on earlier in the year. (Contrary to her good fortune, I always gain weight like a bear in hibernation.) Still, a third friend loves the aftermath of wet snow when tree branches are loaded with the white stuff and twinkle in the sunlight.

There are few transitions in life that don't come without challenges. Highs and lows. Frustrations and joys. Fears and resolutions. I'm thinking about those marker events like marriage, motherhood, divorce, moving, changing professions, retirement, aging, the death of a loved one . . . Putting my adjustment to winter alongside all of these other transitions seems petty in comparison.

Maybe that's the key: The acceptance of things we cannot change.

Yep, I think that's it.


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