This weekend’s time change has flipped the light-switch on my weekday dog-walk schedule, as it is now dimly daylight when I walk Reggie at 6:00 in the morning and pitch dark when I walk him at 6:00 at night. Soon enough, it will be dark for both morning and evening dog-walks, the day having shriveled to a sliver of its summer length.
Already this autumn, light seems like a precious resource that we are learning to savor as it becomes increasingly rare. In summertime, we can take light for granted as it pours down in an abundant shower from an omnipresent sun. In fall and winter, we have to trust that the sun is present even on days, like today, that are overcast, and we have to trust that the sun will eventually appear on days when dawn arrives late and sunset comes early.
During those months when daylight is short, I grow protective of those hours I can spend in my normally bright-lit apartment. On winter weekdays, I spend most of my daylight hours on campus, seeing my dog and apartment primarily in the dark. On my at-home grading days, I want simply to soak up sun, enjoying the sight of light slanting through slatted blinds as the sun continues its diurnal course from horizon to horizon. As autumn slouches toward winter, sunlight is a waning phenomenon we can’t afford to waste.