Today is one of those transition days in the rhythm of the year. It could equally well have been yesterday, but today the full “shift” occurred. The temperature outside is 82º, unseasonably warm for April 2 in Pittsburgh. It’s definitely sandals, shorts, and tank top weather. I worked in the yard for a couple of hours and my back has that delightfully flushed and healthy feeling (I know — it’s really not healthy, unless you count all the extra vitamin D). I’m pleasantly tired. And now I’m sitting out on my sun porch with iced coffee and open windows. I’m enjoying the breeze, listening to birds, and smiling at the riotous abundance of forsythia and daffodils on the hillside beyond. The record snowfall of a few weeks ago is fading from memory.
The “shift”? This day is sensory validation that we have officially passed into Light Time, my personal term for the part of year when daylight exceeds darkness, and light clothing takes the place of dark, heavy apparel. It’s a time to move around unfettered, to roam and explore freely, a time of growth and nurturing, connection to the earth, a time of richness, fresh food, and flowers.
Dark Time is an introspective, brooding, interior time calling for hot, crockpot meals, heavy layers of insulating clothing, and moving with effort through difficult conditions.
Each season has its own rewards and benefits, though I admit I far prefer Light Time.
Earlier, while snipping dead twigs and branches from overgrown juniper, I realized that my writing tends to go through similar seasons. There are Light Times when the words flow freely, often like a flash flood through a dry arroyo. During Light Writing Time, I tend to focus on more upbeat, “public” material. Sometimes it’s humorous, sometimes instructive, and occasionally insightful in a growing sort of way that forges into new territory.
During Dark Writing Time, I’m more likely to focus on past events, reevaluating, reshaping, practicing the sort of alchemy that transforms leaden memories into golden assets.
My light and dark writing times don’t perfectly correlate with seasons of the sun, but neither are they disconnected. I welcome this seasonal transition as a time to inventory writing and related projects, pruning and fertilizing the vital ones, and pulling out a few that have grown stale and scraggly.
Write now: a story or essay about your own sense of annual transitions. What signals seasonal shifts to you? What memories are evoked? What seasons do you notice in your writing?