We're in an especially unique moment in history, and it seems like I'm not the only one for whom the appeal of basic indicators of constancy and predictability is especially strong.
For most of my life, I barely noticed or cared whether the days were darker or lighter. When I did, it seemed trivial.
I started paying weirdly close attention to the daylight last winter, when so much of "normal" life was suddenly gone, and the views from my window changed so little. Days felt the same and melded into one another. But the daylight was a concrete change; a marker of forward motion; of progress through a nebulous, numbing pandemic.
I thought that would be the worst winter. Now that's not at all certain, as the virus is spreading rapidly, and fatigue is peaking, and holiday gatherings are set to happen with very little will to reconsider.
In any year, the dark days have real effects on health, mental and physical. I don't need to tell you. The changes don't suddenly induce depression, but they make most people a little less likely to go out and socialize, move around, and generally experience the world. The net effect drives us a little below our usual emotional baseline.
But even if you hate the sun and light, and hate summer (as Maeve does), there seems to be an especially salient appeal of the simple predictability of the solstice.
It's a concrete marker of something that doesn't change, and will reliably be there, even in these uncertain times (I keep hearing that phrase, but are any times certain?).
Anyway, I've been doing a countdown on Twitter that seems to appeal to people in an unnervingly/hearteningly real way. So I wanted to share the reminder here as well. Things are not forever. For better and for worse. There's a horizon. Hopefully it's not the only thing pulling you forward. But it's a concrete reminder of whatever is.
That's all I have. If I could make the days lighter right now, I would. I don't yet control the motion of the planets. For now their movement is consistent and reliable, as more things should be. Especially for those of you in need of some temporary reprieve from your head—or who know someone who is—it's worth considering taking a moment to appreciate it.
Then hop back on Zoom and continue nodding thoughtfully into the void.