Each morning, as the year’s dark side encroaches on the start of the day, I see and hear fewer birds as I take my 6:00 a.m. walk. This morning I was down to three species: crows, a cardinal and the eastern pewee. I notice the change most on Monday mornings, as on the weekend I usually sleep half an hour later than on work days. Soon, the only bird I hear will be the hoot of an owl, as the pewees will head south and even the crows and the cardinals won’t be awake.
This Monday, when I first left the cabin, I nearly turned around to retrieve a headlamp, but after I stood with Dog for a moment or two, my eyes adjusted enough that I thought I could do without it for another day, at least. But I know the headlamp is only a day or two away from necessity. At first, I will only need it until I emerge from the canopy of the forest. Once I have open sky above me, even nearly black open sky, I will be able to see my way for the walk. But that is only a temporary respite. When we return to standard time, I might be able to forego it again, briefly. When the leaves fall and open the forest to the sky’s light, I might have another respite. But respite is all these temporary adjustments will bring. The night is closing in.