Oh, it's a long, long while from May to December

But the days grow short when you reach September

— Maxwell Anderson

I am a watcher of the sky, a follower of the Sun. Were I not a Christian, I would no doubt be a follower of Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun. I keep track of when it rises in the morning and sets in the evening. While the days have been getting shorter since June 21, we’ve only been able to notice it much more recently.

This is only going to get worse.

About the 20th of September the nights will be longer than the days and we will keep losing light until just before Christmas, but by Halloween it will be just about as dark as it's going to get.

But we are now in a period where we know the darkness is coming, but there is still enough light to work. We can’t put in crops; that has already been done — or better have been. But if we are going to do anything more, waiting is not going to help.

This reminds me of my stage of life.

I’ve got a birthday coming up in a couple of months, but it’s not a big one with a zero on the end or anything, but most of the people in my life are already beyond 60. Many of them well beyond. Even when age comes gracefully things happen.

There is the energy thing.

When I am at my energy peak, I am sharper than I ever was. This is because I’ve done a lot of stuff and thought about a lot of stuff just because I’ve had longer to do it than I ever have before. That sort of goes without saying, but I think there are some folks who might need to hear it.

The problem comes when I am off my energy peak. When the batteries are charged, I can learn Spanish and Russian, Python and C++; I can think about the best examples to talk about algorithms and finite state machines. When the batteries go down, don’t even ask me to do arithmetic.

The brain is still there along with everything that is stored in it, but sometimes I don’t have the amps to light up the little LEDs.

I notice that among some of my longtime friends. Some of them have become good stewards of their energy. They work and study and think, but are careful not to run the battery all the way out. They take care of the physical so that the mental will stay as sharp as it can for as long as it can.

My mother had Alzheimer’s. Her world became smaller and smaller. She spoke with fewer and fewer people until she only spoke to her ancestors. I don’t know that she ever could’ve done anything any differently. That is one of the facts of life: No matter what you do there are no guarantees.

But a little exercise ain’t a-gonna kill ya. Take a walk to keep your blood flowing to your brain; do Sudoku; learn Spanish. Love your neighbor as yourself.

The days grow short when you reach September.

Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to “like” the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook.