Falling Back



   Time changes come and go. The springing aheads and falling backs preceded by a few people observing in the late afternoons, “Next week at this time it’ll be dark,” or, “It will still be light …” as the case may be. Then on the Saturday night before the appointed Sunday, setting the clocks that need to be set and ignoring the cell phone and computer, which take care of themselves. And as Sunday evening nears, someone will say, “I can’t believe it’s dark already,” or, “I can’t believe it’s still light.” Monday, the new time firmly in place and now unnoticed, life goes on as before.
   Not this time. In the hallway at six-thirty, coming back from dinner, looking out at the darkness, wondering where the day went, feeling robbed of the evening’s beauty, there is a sense of emptiness, sadness. Shouldn’t feel this way. Here on the western edge of the Eastern Time zone, the sunset comes later than most anywhere else. Beth in Orofino, near the eastern border of the Pacific Time zone, and well to the north of Columbus, says it is dark there at four-fifteen.
   Cursed the short days only once before. In 2008, in Ashtabula. Disability retirement, limited mobility, looking out the window at a parade of gray, rainy days – two weeks’ worth, or so it seemed – that made the short days following the return to standard time terribly dark and dreary.
   But this year, here in Columbus, the weather in the wake of the time change has been mostly pleasant, some glorious autumn days. The windshields of the cars in the parking lot were coated with frost one morning last week.
   But there is the wheelchair. They don’t know what is wrong with it. The control unit has been replaced, the motor for the wheels on the left side have been replaced, but the left wheels still operate erratically if at all. A week ago, they took the wheelchair and left a loaner. The loaner ain’t the wheelchair. Its battery is questionable, and there is nothing to indicate when the battery is getting low, and it gets low quickly. Can’t go outside for fear it would require a push to get back in.
   Maybe the time change isn’t the problem. Maybe it’s cabin fever.

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