http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/11/14/diablo-views-changing-of-the-seasons


Danville Express

Column - November 14, 2008

Diablo Views: Changing of the seasons

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Fall began Sept. 22. Winter begins Dec. 21. But to me the real change of seasons is the end of daylight-saving time.

This year going off daylight saving accompanied the end of the election season. I was pleased to think my mail carrier would be relieved of the burden of delivering stacks of hateful campaign materials to my mailbox. But no sooner was the election over than - whomp! - the holiday catalogs landed in his truck to be hauled to each door. The Christmas season had arrived.

At least the bright and joyous holiday catalogs don't cast slanderous aspersions at opponents. Macy's just touts its own treasures, it doesn't accuse Nordstrom of squandering funds or not having the experience to deliver the goods. Never will the name L.L. Bean appear in the pages of Lands' End. As a matter of fact, candidates could learn from store catalogs - just tell us what's good about you and what you have to offer; don't worry about your opponent/competition.

The upside of daylight-saving time ending is that it is now light when my alarm goes off weekday mornings. The downside is that on weekends the sun glares in on my face, waking me way too early. (I must remember to pull down that shade.) Another downside is that it is dark when I leave work so I don't want to run errands on my way home. The upside is that my evenings seem longer.

The upside of autumn is the changing of the leaves, which I find beautiful in the Danville area no matter what the snobs from Vermont might say. The downside is my mulberry trees drop a million leaves that must be raked up. The upside is that charming deer come to my back yard to eat the fallen leaves. The downside is that while they are eating the leaves they also nibble on a few other bushes. The upside is ... OK, that's enough.

That would be a good name for a television series: "Upside, Downside," a similar name to "Upstairs, Downstairs," which depicted the life of the privileged class "upstairs" in Edwardian England as well as that of their servants "downstairs." But the premise of "Upside, Downside" would be to take a circumstance and view it from two different angles - maybe put an optimist and a pessimist in the same situation and see how they handle it.

Optimist: "Look at that gorgeous view!"

Pessimist: "Help! I'm on the edge of a cliff!"

And so you can see why I'm not a screenwriter and don't have anything to do with creating television shows.

Now that it's November and the days are getting shorter, I can accept that the Christmas season is in view. I'm even getting excited about the tree lightings. Nothing says "community" like standing with your neighbors listening to children's choruses singing and waiting for the lights on a big tree to go on. For a month or so we have holiday cheer to brighten the otherwise cold, dark and short days. The only other good thing about the cold is big, baggy sweaters, which cover a lot of flaws.

My favorite day in December is not Christmas or New Year's Eve. It's the winter solstice, Dec. 21. Because that's the shortest day of the year - and then we can begin moving toward the longer days. Halleluliah! Each day gets a little longer until finally the miracle of spring arrives.

Not that I want to rush anything. At my age, I'm happy to let each day unfold as slowly as it can. Dark, light, cold, hot - I love them all. But I do take note.

-Dolores Fox Ciardelli can be e-mailed at editor@DanvilleWeekly.com.

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