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Daylight, Savings and Time
It's that time of year again. At two o'clock this coming Sunday morning, while you are fast asleep, you will be given back what was taken from you earlier this year: that extra hour of sleep you have been missing for far too long. What will you actually do with your extra hour during this glorious time of year known as turning the clock back, the one time of year we can actually save time, and consciously choose to use it in any way we want? Catch up on sleep, stay up later because you can? Or will you bake cookies, read a little extra something special, spend some extra time with your partner or call a friend for a chat? For all the times we say we don't have enough time, we do get, once a year, a little bit extra.
Given this gift, how well do we steward it? Having three hundred sixty-four other days to consider the point of if we had more time, we should make this a national holiday, with lots of fanfare, perhaps even special sales, decorations and festivities. There could be parades, tailgate parties with holiday foods designated to highlight this most momentous of days. All of this could be grandly accomplished in that last hour of extended sunlight on Saturday evening. Bonfires, fireworks and a final toast to the last pretense of summer could all round out the evening.
You probably think that this is all a little silly, right? Fair enough. Perhaps you are also thinking this sounds like a nice way, a gentle, considerate way, to transition into the coming months. Like squirrels gathering nuts and berries, and bears layering on winter weight to cuddle down and curl up for the brutality of the weather that is to come, we human beings may also need to save something of the buoyancy and flexibility of a time that allows us to stretch ourselves out into the world and reach for the stars. For those of us in the north country, it is supposed to be a record winter for snow and cold. Saving a bit of summer in our souls is almost necessary to remember that spring will come again. It is one of the most important times of the year to remember, as the Gospel of John shares with us, that, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it."
In the framework of light and darkness we use to define time, it is interesting to me how we manage this one, across the board, equal gift. Each of us may not live as long as our neighbor, or we may be blessed with more years. Regardless of that fact, each day we do have is, barring the time shifts between standard and daylight savings time, twenty-four hours long. That being the case, how can we never have enough time? And what about the days that we say we can't wait to see end. How did they become longer? While raking leaves today, I decided I would continue until it got dark. I didn't finish the work, but I did pretty well. What I didn't do was pretend that I wanted to control the setting sun, or push myself to finish what was a two session task. I felt a sense of connection to my Midwestern pioneer roots, a time when people used the lights and the darkness to their advantage, not as a competitor to beat as in a frantic race, completing daylight tasks while there was daylight, and wrapping up their nighttime activities with relatively little overlap between candlelight and lights out. There us something to be said for respecting those rhythms of life God set in place on the first days of creation.
For those who like a little nighttime chat with God, the stars and the noon still offer a few nights respite each month from time moving too fast, or too slow, all through the year. God may not be behind Daylight Savings Time, but God does know a thing or two about the brilliance of abundant light in all kinds of dazzling forms.
This article was posted on November 04, 2005