Daylight

And now we’re on Standard  Time. 

Yeah, I don’t care... 

This is one of those issues that people get passionate about, but me, not so much. I liked the extra hour of sleep Sunday morning, but the day is long past where I had a couple hours of chores to do before wrangling a bunch of kids into Sunday School, so it wasn’t that big a deal. On the other hand, I’m kind of like a chicken – when the sun goes down, I’m ready to call it a day. This time of year, the sun goes down and it’s still about five hours before a reasonable person would go to bed. That’s a lot of time to fill. 

So, you know, you deal with it. 

That seems to be a skill we’re losing. On the days I can force myself to read the news, I’m often baffled by how fragile people have become. Punching a flight attendant in the mouth because she wants you to wear a mask on the plane, leading a protest to try and get a professor fired because he said something you didn’t want to hear - the list goes on and on. Maybe this is healthy, maybe we’ve become a country of “I’m not going to put up with that anymore...” 

Maybe.   

On the other hand, there’s a price to pay for being in a tizzy about everything. Among other things, it can’t be good for your blood pressure. 

A few years ago, we were in Svalbard Norway, about 600 miles from the north pole. Since it was in June, it never got dark, and since we were surrounded by high mountains, we hardly saw the sun at all, no matter how bright it was. There was no real sense of the passage of time, and other than stumbling over reindeer and staying on the alert for polar bears, it was a lovely place to spend some time. In a few months it would be dark all day, but the locals told us that was their favorite time of year. 

A few years before Svalbard, I was in Uganda getting my picture taken standing with one foot on either side of the equator. The length of day and temperature barely wavered with the changing of the months. We toured factories that processed tea, visited coffee plantations, and fish farms. Because the weather didn’t change, the people we met worked all the time. This wasn’t farming as I knew it, with bursts of activity followed by time to rest and regroup before the next burst. It didn’t seem to bother the folks there, although I’ll never forget one coffee plantation high in the mountains. The village children gathered to meet our van and seemed excited to see us, but when I was the first one out the door, they all screamed and ran away. I don’t think it was related to the weather as much as my pallid skin tones. Once the kids got used to my hideous color, we got along great. 

I planned to write about how there are worse problems in the world than losing Daylight Savings Time, that when the sun is shining or not doesn’t make that much difference. Then a friend of mine posted a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that reads, in part, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allow it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.” 

I think me and Ralph are in agreement here. It’s not the amount of light in each day, it’s the amount of life.  That’s not determined by Mother Nature or the government. We all, each of us, every day, determine for ourselves how much life and light we have in our world. 

Copyright 2021 Brent Olson