We lose daylight more swiftly in October than in any other month, I read recently. Today’s sky is brightening from dark blue to navy at a time when it would have already been white in early September. Last night the light was almost gone by seven while this morning a dim gleam is rising above the shortest buildings twelve hours later. For now we’re on Bangkok time, with night and day almost of equal length. 

In Bangkok darkness was soothing while here it feels like a threat. Even if we begin to gain light in January and February, what begins as a cocoon turns into a shroud after the turn of the year. It’s an atavistic season that holds unease. Will this go on forever? 

I know it won’t but that knowledge isn’t as strong as ancient fears inherited from Celts and Teutons. Centuries without science have left their mark on my genes. I’ve replaced solstice bonfires with candles and holiday lights. My bedecked and baubled evergreen tree has shrunk to an amaryllis bulb encased in a sphere of wax, a grenade of hope. The slow progress of its blunt green stem as it pushes its way above its container has more meaning to me than numbers on a calendar. When it blooms at last, it gives a promise that I begin to think might not be broken, even though I know it will be an interminable ninety days before other blossoms return.

The sky is pale blue now at 7:11. We’ve just entered autumn. The leaves haven’t yet lost their green and the air has that delicious crispness that makes me believe anything is possible. This year perhaps fall will last into November and the darkness that follows will seem comforting. Maybe there will be winter sun and the brightness of fresh snow during our abbreviated days. And who knows? Maybe once again I’ll feel the joy of watching the light return, inch by inch, as it slowly reopens the world.