Recently Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like An Artist, linked in his newsletter to a piece about living with the seasons by Matt Thomas, writer of the Sunday NYTimes Digest (if you can follow that).

It reflects on our typical thinking of time and suggests a better way to measure it: by seasons.


He asks:

“Should one also change in conjunction with the seasons?”

By which the only logical answer is:

Of course.

We do it naturally anyway. All the “first day of fall!” statuses and pictures of pumpkin orchards and apple orchards and warm, gooey, cinnamony desserts. That’s us pivoting away from summer and enjoying the harvests of autumn to its fullest before winter arrives. Traditionally, we go back to school in Fall and even years after graduation many will find that the end of summer brings a period of head-down back-to-work concentration.

Autumn inherently brings with it a lot of change and my personal seasonal shift is no difference. 

Summer ended when we returned to Italy after three weeks in America and 14 hours of traveling. Adeline began crawling, grew a tooth, got yet another vaccination and finally decided to accept veggies. Everyone has their own responsibilities.


The change in season meant starting Adeline in day care, brainstorming multiple solutions for house restoration projects for Adeline’s new bedroom, Marco working non-stop to catch up on the days he missed and me starting back up at work after eight months of maternity leave.

It’s about organizing and nesting, in a sense getting everything prepared for winter.

And yet in spite of the evidence, we still follow a manipulated 24-hour clock. We think in terms of daily unites, yearly resolutions, morning and evening routines. And we ignore our body’s natural rhythms, rising when the alarm goes off and eating when the clock says.


Thomas cites Lewis Mumford, 20th century author, and I will too:

When one thinks of the day as an abstract span of time, one does not go to bed with the chickens on a winter’s night: one invents wicks, chimneys, lamps, gaslights, electric lamps, so as to use all the hours belonging to the day. When one thinks of time, not as a sequence of experiences, but as a collection of hours, minutes, and seconds, the habits of adding time and saving time come into existence.

When time is thought of in 24-hour intervals we are pitting it against biology. We start bargaining, saving and spending time as if we had the right to do so. The race against the clock is real.

Of course it’s unavoidable to consider the passage of time, but maybe we can change the way we consider it. Instead of the unbearably short day, we could follow “the season, the sun, and the shadow.”


So our to-do lists can stretch over months and our routines can follow the weather. We have cycles of creativity and productivity that span and stretch over the course of an entire year, changing with the seasons.

So that we are never late,

                                                  nor early,

                                but very much on time.


Written by ginamussio

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