DULUTH, Minn. -- Walking in the dark woods the other night, I saw a splash of white light on the trunks of the Norway pines up ahead. I was walking the single-track trails at Hartley Park, and I had a hunch about the source of light. Night mountain bikers.
I was right. A couple of them had stopped to chat at an intersection of trails. Night biking is becoming more common as riders try to stretch their summer riding season as long as they can before the snow falls. They use powerful LED lights on their bikes and helmets to see the way.
I, too, was moving through a tunnel of artificial light -- my headlamp. It's getting harder, as the Northern Hemisphere leans away from the sun, to get in a long walk after work.
It's tough, for those of us who enjoyed light until 9:30 or 10 p.m. a couple of months back, to let go of long light. It's hard not to feel as if our world is closing in on us. This is the first stage of the oppressiveness of winter. We are hopelessly diurnal creatures, adapted to function in daylight hours.
I remind myself not to fight the darkness, and much of the time it works. The night doesn't have to be the bad guy, I tell myself.