Plastic Bags and a Rising Sun | Mark Lindsay

If I had no calendar I’d gauge my seasons by the rising sun. It seems to be better way to do things anyway. Humans are always screwing around with calendars and time and making a mess of them. Twice per year we think we’re very clever to move our clocks back or forth in the interest of “saving” daylight. It’s a ridiculous notion that does nothing but make everyone cranky on the two Sunday mornings after this feeble attempt of sorcery. Calendars and clocks cause a lot of anxiety in this world. We’d all be better off just paying attention to the sun.

I pay attention to the sun the most when at the farmer’s market—a place I frequent each Sunday morning. It’s there that I watch my seasons by groping produce and by looking at the position and color of the sun as it rises above the market’s tents. There’s a gradual and soothing cadence to the entire year of seasons and produce—until they change the clocks by an hour. Then the sun looks odd and everyone seems disoriented and grumpy. It takes about a month for things to calm down and return to normal. When things seem okay it’s almost time to change the clocks again. Calendars and clocks are a form of tyranny.

I love watching to the sun but I don’t like a high sun. So my favorite times at the market are the seasons when the sun is low and golden. That’s when the light dances around the stalls and shines through translucent objects. It turns the produce to gold. It makes the whole place feel like a cathedral.

I think that most people disagree with me. The market is most crowded in summer—a time of bounty and bright, warm mornings. This is my least-favorite season. Yes, the produce is bright and seductive but the light is flat and the fair-weather crowd is dense. I still go and I endure the elbows. I grab my tomatoes and corn and get out as soon as I can. Glancing back at the five cars that are waiting to take my spot, I look up at the sun. I note how high it is compared to the surrounding hills and count the days until the sun gets lazy in its morning flight. I think about autumn and winter and marvel at the effortless way that nature drifts from season to season.

Then I think of whoever is in charge of the calendars and clocks and curse at them under my breath. Calendars bring us nothing but headaches. They count how old we are and tell us when our taxes are due. And clocks seem like reliable old friends until some idiots decide to move them forward or backwards in order to screw around with daylight. But, the sun never lies and never complains—and so far it’s come up every day since I’ve been watching it.