Sunday, October 21, 2012

Clear afternoon light/election anxiety

Autumn is my favorite season.  I look forward to the retreat of summer's heat and the arrival of crisp, dry air.  Unpacking the seasonal decorations, buying that gallon or two of apple cider, and trying a new variety of apple -- all these things help me mark the new season, keep me aware of the passage of precious time. The autumn equinox is always observed with extra candles at my house (in this respect, as in others, I am a little bit Pagan), and I look forward to the extra hour of sleep that the end of Daylight Saving brings. And I don't mind the early dark.  Mom used to say there was no better feeling than to draw the living-room curtains at night, and to know that everyone she loved was safe and well fed.

By the beginning of October, my son has always got plenty of firewood stacked for me, and that first fire of the season prepares me to settle in for winter. We haven't yet had the first fire -- last year we had such warm weather that I could probably number the fires on the fingers of one hand -- and this week it will remain mild.  But the night for that first fire will arrive, probably in the early part of November.  By then, the Norfolk Island pine and the large succulent (whose name escapes me at the moment -- see how my mind is going?) -- will need to come in from the porch to places of respite from the cold..

I took the picture above early this afternoon. I was heading from the car back to the house, when I was just halted in my tracks by the glory of my neighbor's sugar maple. This tree has already started to litter the lawn with a carpet of golden leaves.  The autumn afternoon light is clear, warm, beautiful. How could I not have noticed?

I'll tell you how. I've been overwhelmed by Election Anxiety. I actually heard a psychiatrist interviewed on this very topic the other day.  Of course this took place on CNN. I have been watching CNN or MSNBC since the party conventions back in the summer.  Obsessive is not a strong enough word to describe me.  I have become a political junkie. I can tell you how the polls are trending. I can tell you where the candidates are doing their final debate prep.

Meanwhile, however, autumn is going on all around me, and I have been generally oblivious. I did put up an autumn wreath on the front door, and purchased a pumpkin for the porch, but I did not do this in anticipation of the season, as I normally would. I did it in a panic, as I realized that we're ten days from Halloween and only a month out from Thanksgiving.

The set doesn't change on the Rachel Maddow show when the season does.  No wonder I barely knew that it was autumn.

The TV psychiatrist said that the election-obsessed voter has lost sight of the fact that, whoever wins in November, we will be OK, even if "our" candidate loses.  I disagree. I think this election is critical to our future as a nation, critical to women, critical to working people.  But (hard as it is to admit) the election results will not change one iota if I go outside instead of being splayed on the floor in front of the TV. I live in a safely "blue" state. My anxiety about tomorrow night's final debate will not help the President, not even a tiny bit.

But sitting out in the backyard with the dogs may help me a whole lot. So that's where I'm going next.

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