Friday, September 23, 2011

Into the Dark

September in Valley Green
So autumn begins, though you wouldn't know it from the weather we're having here in Philly--it's warm and rainy, like most of August was. In fact, it's been raining so much that the foundations of the porch I share with my neighbors is about to wash away.

It was a bipolar summer, swinging between a dangerously dry July that seemed to stay somewhere in the low 100s, and an August and September that was beset by two hurricanes, floods, and on top of it all, an earthquake.

It's a rainy night, and from here on out--at least until the winter solstice--every night will be longer than the last one. Each day is darker.

Maybe it's just the mood of... well, the whole damn world. Not that long ago, London was up in flames; riots in Europe and an Arab Uprising that, despite real success in Tunisia and at least partial success in Egypt and Libya, seems to be stalling in places like Syria. No one seems to know whether the Euro is going to completely fall apart; whether the U.S. is going back into a technical recession (though, as someone who can't find a full-time job no matter how many resumes I send out and interviews I go on, I don't care if it's a technical recession or not, it feels like a depression to me). No one knows what's going on, only that it feels like the world is on the edge of a precipice.

But maybe that's just the Dark talking. This is the time of year when markets crash and seasonal depression sets in and all the promise of spring, well, it gave way to summer, but now summer is gone--no more trips to the beach, lazy afternoons by the pool or open fire hydrant, no more barbeques or picnics... Because it'll be cold and dark and wet and miserable...

Of course, autumn has wonderful things--arguably the best food (as someone who loves turkey and pumpkin pie and apple cider), and the best holidays (because yes, I'm already planning my Halloween party). And Oktoberfest--let's not forget that. But... but it's dark, and the cold sets in, and the anxiety of the holidays (and the bills that come after) are looming on the horizon.

But... But... It's temporary. All things are temporary. The darkness is temporary. The cold is temporary. The recession is temporary. That's why the year is a wheel--it all comes around again.

I keep thinking back to the Rally for Sanity last year, when Jon Stewart said "These are hard times, not end times." There is an apocalyptic undertone to American culture, and probably always has been, since religious extremists in funny hats came here to build their shining city on a hill. But that's not how things actually work--we're not moving towards an endpoint, an Armageddon followed by Utopia. Everything is temporary, whether it's the darkness that comes from an axial tilt, or the lack of money in my back account, or even your life.

At least, that's what I keep telling myself. But in the meantime, it's going to get dark and cold, and we have to survive it. Everything's temporary, but we still have to get through it.

Well, to leave on a happier note, go check out some pictures of this year's Loughcrew equinox sunrise; like Newgrange, it's a chambered mound aligned with the sunrise, in this case with the equinoxes (Newgrange, course, is aligned with the winter solstice).

No comments: