|I'm keeping warm with a scarf, a baby belly, and slippers.|
My knitting sits on the coffee table, waiting patiently.
Emme claims the blanket on the end of the couch as her own.
This is what happens when the afternoon turns gray.
I just turned on lights in the living room because it was getting dark. Hard to tell whether the darkness is due to last weekend's time change or whether it is due to a thick, gray mass of clouds that have settled in over the town.
It always takes me a few days to adjust to the time change in the fall. Mornings, instead of looking like dark nighttime, look instead like faintly-lit gray hazes that make you wonder whether it is morning or evening; early daytime or late-afternoon cloud cover. Afternoons turn dark sooner than expected, and night falls earlier, fooling you into thinking that the day has come and gone more quickly than you expected. It takes me a few days of this to settle into it, to get to a place where I don't feel so disoriented and unsure of the time and rhythm of the day.
And then, as I settle in, something switches in me, and I get it. I remember what winter is like, and I understand the new feel of the day, and I remember the parts of my own self that get tucked away when we spring our clocks forward in March.
In other lifetimes, I gave myself an October threshold for listening to Advent and Christmas music. These days, I hold out until at least the start of November. This year, for whatever reason, I didn't even start thinking about it until last week, when I started loading up playlists onto my iPod in preparation for labor and delivery later this month, and I programmed myself a copious amount of Christmas music for those forthcoming hours.
I forget that we've passed Halloween already, and that Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. My usual rush to embrace autumn feelings and flavors has been a little slow this year.
Perhaps because while the seasons change around me, and the time changes, and the sun sets earlier in the afternoon, my mind is not on the seasons themselves, or on holidays or traditions or even the bits and pieces of nostalgia that late fall and early winter dig up in me.
For the whole span of time we've lived in Iowa, time has been pressing ahead toward only one thing: the birth of this much-loved, much-awaited hedgehog of a baby, whose due date is just two weeks away. Thanksgiving this year will either be a celebration of a very new newborn, or the last few days of a very very uncomfortable pregnant lady. Christmas feels like forever away, because something as big as HAVING A BABY needs to happen between now and then. The whole fall has been a time of talking about this eventual baby and making initial plans and preparations, except that we are now in the last days, and the things that needed to get done "sometime this fall" now need to get done today and this week and as soon as we can manage them.
Today, though, Daylight Savings Time finally caught up to me in a useful way. As I sat here on the couch, watching the grayness of the afternoon creep in through the windows, I felt this urge for something to happen. Tired of waiting, I felt ready for a holiday, or ready for some nostalgia. Ready to knit and make soup and do autumnal things. Ready to scoff a little less at the Thanksgiving and even Christmas commercials on TV. I am ready for something to happen. Ready to meet this baby, or to eat some stuffing, or to start sorting through the Christmas decorations that we might put up right after Thanksgiving with family members who will be coming to see us. I'm okay with the wind blowing outside, and with the fact that it might be time to pull out my winter coat, even if I can't zip it up right now. I am ready for something to happen. Babies, holidays, families, cozy nights, anything to reclaim a space for myself that is no longer a space of mere waiting, but a space of anticipation and joy and movement.
Maybe being nine months pregnant makes me a bit of a crazy-lady. Because I'm not sure how a gray afternoon can somehow make me excited rather than depressed. But maybe the weather just reminds me that the seasons are again changing, and that nothing actually stands still in life, and when the quiet of waiting starts to drive you a little nuts, even the world outside can remind you that change is always on the horizon, and those things that you've been waiting for will indeed come, and all the days that you've been counting will indeed lead to something new and interesting and beautiful.