Over Thanksgiving, sometime after we had loosened our belts and before we had voted for another round of pie, we started complaining about the paucity of daylight lately. A couple of relatives in our household said they couldn’t wait for “real” time to return.
The problem, someone pointed out, is that we are in the midst of standard time. Daylight saving time ended early this month, so now we are living on time as it was created on the fourth day of Creation. But it seems all wrong somehow.
“That sounds just like something the government would do,” my wife lamented of the shortness of sunlight.
Whether it was the government or a very real case of global darkening, I think you will agree that the sun is coming up later and setting much earlier than ever before. Until now, I thought “darkness at the break of noon” was just a Bob Dylan lyric.
Think I’m exaggerating? Well, maybe a little, but the days really do seem shorter. When I was young and had the whole outdoors as my toy box, sunlight charged my batteries, tanned my skin and showed me places to explore, play and get into trouble. When I wasn’t doing farm work, I was explicitly told to go outside to play and be home by dark, no matter the season.
By dark? That was no imposition on me. Darkness wouldn’t fall for eons into the future. A day was as long as I wanted it to be, and often I went home before dark only because I knew supper was waiting. In between, I swung from vines in the woods, cut down saplings and milkweed and became a champion archer, subsisted on green apples and blackberries and nuts, and climbed a nearby mountain by pulling myself up from tree trunk to tree trunk as though I were navigating the monkey bars on the school playground.
Other days, my brothers and I would be out in the fields working alongside our parents as they baled hay, combined grain, moved cattle to another pasture for grazing or burned brush to clean out the pine thickets. Darkness would put an end to the work around 9 o’clock. Dirty and tired, we trudged home for supper, not because the work was done but because we could no longer see to do it.
Even when fall came and daylight saving time ended, life was still bright and livable. By comparison, last Thursday the light began to fade before my second helping of turkey. Second, or thirty-second; I wasn’t counting. By then, my eating hand was almost too exhausted to lift to my mouth.
Visitors who were leaving didn’t want to face the dark roads, darker than they had been just weeks before. I was glad my wife had insisted on having Thanksgiving at our house, where we safely huddled around a campfire of lamps and stove eyes. Outside, only bats could love the darkness — bats and burglars.
Let there be light!
Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419