Autumn in Vancouver won't pose for a photo. No image will capture how rapidly and firmly the day closes upon us, like the hand of someone who has enjoyed the summertime play of tiny people in its palm, then suddenly tires of them. No image will show you how the day loses all its dimensions at once: shorter, of course, yet also randomly darker at midday. I can't show you that mid-afternoon moment when seventeen layers of gray cloud converge right above us, plunging us into near-darkness that might be an eclipse. (For I have been through real eclipses from under layers of cloud, and the effect is much the same.) Nor can I render the joy of the "relative sunbreak", when twelve of seventeen layers give way, yielding what seems like a burst of white light, and people look up, breathe deeply, loosen their scarves.
There is such consolation in this great, wet hand. We can curl up in it, even as it closes upon is. The clouds are blankets, wrapping us close, keeping us warm. Thus wrapped on all sides, we walk comfortably in shirtsleeves under light but solid raincoats, frail exoskeletal creatures of the damp.
These diminishing days are so close, so warm that the rare total sunbreak is not quite good news, any more then childbirth is for a fetus. In a moment, it is impossibly bright and dramatically colder. Over and over we get this message: Brightness = cold. To stay warm, stay with the fleeing darkness.