Turning

The world is turning, and I know this now in a way I have not known it, not really, for a number of years. I know that the world is turning because the light is changing. I knew this, of course, and have known it, but now the light is changing; I have missed this.

For the first time today, I had to turn on my bike lights for my five-minute ride to school. It was dark. I haven’t had this in a long time. The suns rises and sets around the same time all year round on the equator, roughly between 7:00 and 7:30, morning or evening. By comparison, when I arrived in Germany in July, the sun rose at 5:12am and set at 9:27pm. Today, it rose at 7:20am, which is when I turned my lights on, and will set at 6:45pm.

Something I was very aware of while living in Malaysia and Singapore was how difficult I found it to judge the passage of time. With the same light, darkness, and more or less the same weather, it was hard to remember when a certain event had occurred and almost impossible to keep track of what I would have worn to said event. Same clothes for same events, all year round. (Notable exceptions being caught in the rain during particular summer storms, and the cold front that came through Singapore last January during which I, for the first and only time, wore jeans in my house.)

It’s different here. Aware of how much colder it will soon be, and it has been cold already, I’ve been very deliberate in spending time outside. And then I remind myself that I moved countries because I missed seasons and that, before Covid, my friends and I were making travel decisions based on which seasons we wanted to experience. Fall in Korea, winter in Europe, spring in Japan.

The amount of light is changing, the leaves are slowly beginning to follow, and the air tastes different in the morning, afternoon, and evening. The apples that I’ve been picking off trees have ripened, and I’ve completely given up on open-toed shoes. I’d need to change clothes multiple times a day to be consistently comfortable, so I’ve settled in a mostly happy medium of tights, scarves, and jackets that zip.

The world is tuning and time is passing. Later this week it will have been three months since I arrived here, which is already a quarter of a year. How did I get here, and so quickly? If I look back six months, which puts “arrival in Germany” squarely in the middle, much of what constitutes my day-to-day is unrecognizable. And much has remained so obviously the same.

So it goes, whether or not we stop to think about it. While days might stretch on forever, weeks pass. While weeks drag, days might fly by. Such is time. This, too, shall pass, and for everything, there is a season. So it goes. And so, one foot in front of the other, do we.

Nami Island, South Korea – October 2019

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