Halloween isn’t really the most frightful part of this time of year. There’s nothing more frightening than the feeling, after you’ve worked at a desk in the depths of a building for six, eight or ten years, of walking outside at quitting time to find the world is pitch dark.
It’s a tough reminder of the speed with which the years of our lives can whistle past, of the choices we’ve made and how they’ve led us to where we are now.
This week is tough on the spirits of anyone who works from 9 to 5.
We gather together, in these spirits of dusk, to peek in our mailboxes for one last letter, to head down to the corner shop for one last jolt of caffeine to get through the dwindling daylight working hours, then clock out, maybe stopping at a farmstand to pick out cauliflower and spinach in the dark, and then head on to the lights of home.
The only cure for these standard time blues is to wake up every day before dawn, to grab every moment of daylight, soaking it in, to work hard, outside in the daylight, to hit the pillow early, to stoke the hearth fires of home, to gather for a meal in the dark with your loved ones and reminisce about the warmth of summers past.
Down by the train station in Hampton Bays just after dusk on Wednesday, scoping out that haunting dusk light with my camera lens, I found a tug of a memory, a song that scared me as a child, Don Henley’s “New York Minute,” about a man who found success on Wall Street, but threw himself out on the tracks on the way home from work:
“In these days, when darkness falls early, and people rush home to the ones they love/ You’d better take a fool’s advice: take care of your own. ‘Cause one day they’re here. The next day they’re gone.”