The Day the Lights Went Out in Georgia
OpinionShaindle’s Shpiel

The Day the Lights Went Out in Georgia

Adjusting to the darkness of fall to welcome Rosh Hashanah.

Shaindle Schmuckler

Shaindle Schmuckler spreads her energy and humor as a regular contributor to the Atlanta Jewish Times.

The month: August. The day: Tuesday. The time: 7:45 p.m.

My sweet dog, Ari, suddenly barked; Ari is not from the barkers. I looked out the window he was barking at. I did not see a thing and decided it was a mirage.

Something did, however, register way back in the cockles of my brain. It took a moment or two to bring the something forward.

The sun was not as bright as it had been just days earlier.

I am so not ready!

After some wonderful months of late sunlight, it was time for an adjustment. Oh, no, not another adjustment. I desperately need a break from adjustments.

Spring and summer adjustments are far from traumatic; indeed, they bring hope along with the light. Fall, at least at the start, brings such beauty along with it that it’s hard to react with anything short of wonder.

But late fall, driving us down the road into winter, that’s a whole different type of adjustment.

Returning home to the big city and the borough of the Bronx from summer overnight camp each year was always a huge adjustment for me. Upon arrival home, it was a finster in my oygen (a darkness to my eyes). Until I was old enough and had the language to express the depth of what seemed like emotional upheaval, my mother (z”l) could not get her head around what was going on with me.

I will tell you what was going on: I was in the throes of a major slide down the steep hill of — yep, you guessed it — an adjustment, fighting it tooth and nail. (OK, my friends, what does this mean anyway?)

Summer camp in the mountains of New York state was bathed in sunshine, seeming like a hidden sanctuary among the trees, feeling calmed by the music of the birds, surrounded by some of the best humanity had to offer.

Suddenly, I was transported home to apartment living, very few trees and nary a bird singing.

It would take weeks to complete a successful transition, to crawl my way out of that place of longing for longer, sunshine-filled days.

Here I am today, days before the Jewish new year. Each year we have our Rosh Hashanah dinner on our porch. Just once, I’d love for the light streaming onto the porch to be natural, not bulbed (this is a new word).

I am working on readying myself for this year’s adjustment. By the time Chanukah rolls around, I should be well adjusted.

The sunlight is still up, but the days of the light going out in Georgia are creeping up on us. Time for yet another adjustment, folks.

Or …

We could drive to the top of the highest mountain in Georgia, roll down our car windows, stand on the hoods or roofs of our cars, and, while the sun shines over Georgia, shout: Keep the sunlight turned on over Georgia!

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