Thursday, October 25, 2018

October Nightfall

This is the sound of October night falling

There is nothing quite like nightfall in October. It gets dark fast with a darkness that seems far darker than on summer nights. By wintertime we have grown used to it, but in October it is a bit of a shock. The ancients believed that Halloween marked the time when the world of the dead was closest to the world of the living, and you can feel that palpably in a late October nightfall. It's one of those moments when you are reminded of the puniness of your existence in this big, overwhelmingly universe.

I felt that feeling today while driving my daughters home from their dance lesson. We were stuck in post-work traffic with Kurt Vile's new, appropriately spacey, album on in the car. It was the perfect soundtrack to the fading light of dusk suddenly dissipating to inky blackness so stark that I couldn't even make out the names on the street signs.

While I got a certain primal thrill from that moment, it provoked some less than pleasant thoughts. October nightfall heralds the coming of winter and its cold and the sun's exile. I got to thinking about the current political situation, about how we are maybe experiencing another kind of nightfall.

Elections from North Dakota to Georgia may be stolen. The idiot king spews forth bigotry. The opposition party is threatened with attempted assassinations. A completely unfit attempted racist has been placed on the Supreme Court to judge the idiot king's obvious corruption. What little democracy this country ever had may well be entering its twilight.

I hope I am wrong, but as night falls and the political winds get chilly, I am remembering Thomas Paine's admonition that we not be "sunshine patriots" but winter soldiers. It is looking more and more like our charge is not to win a short term battle, but to settle in for a long campaign in a war that may well continue after our lives have ended. I am hoping against hope for a new dawn, but I think it's time to prepare for a long winter of discontent.

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