doesn't solve everything, at least not right away, even if your chosen
candidates and causes win the most votes. Some public situations needing
improvement don't show even up on the ballots. For example, I’m
interested in an issue with plenty of contrast — light and darkness —
although some elections specialize in shades of gray.
you've noticed how much darker it is earlier in the evenings than it was a
couple of weeks ago. True, the days have been getting shorter ever since
June. It's a natural progression. But suddenly it gets dark a whole hour
earlier, in addition to the diminishing total hours of daylight.
that's the price we pay for that extra hour we had the last weekend in
October. I enjoyed the extra hour. Many people do, or at least they prefer
it to the opposite time change in April, with a shorter night and
subsequent mornings that come earlier than our bodies are used to.
evening darkness, however, isn't really something I wanted right now. More
will be coming anyway, all by itself. An extension of light into the
shorter evenings would have been welcome at this point. I'm reminded of a
mild-mannered farmer who used to tell me that the time changes were
opposite from what would be convenient for him.
the brighter side of the Dark Season, it is lighter earlier in the
morning, but I hadn't noticed a problem there. I thought it was light
enough. My view is that I don't need full daylight right away. It's fine
to work up to it gradually.
looks like it's almost time to go to bed before supper, that tends to be
like rain on someone's picnic. After leaving work several evenings with
the sun setting, the reality does sink in that it's going to be raining on
my picnic — or rather, dark for my after-work activities — every
evening for the next three months. That's a long tunnel before the light
at the end.
Once when I
complained about the limited hours of daylight at this time of year,
someone suggested using extra light at home and making sure to spend more
time outside at midday. Since then, I've read about therapeutic light
boxes which produce an intense light, much brighter than room lighting,
though still much less than sunlight. Apparently they work quite well to
relieve symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder or the milder "winter
blues" which some people experience.
daylight can result in a deficiency of serotonin, plus an excess of
melatonin released in the brain at the wrong time. With a chemical
imbalance like that and body clocks out of sync with the shorter days, it
makes sense that a person could feel a form of depression or something
like having jet lag for several months.
It's good to
know that there's a fairly simple way to alleviate such seasonal
difficulties, but I’d just as soon take advantage of the genuine
daylight. It’s available right outside, and it’s free. So I'm happy to
have a longer break at noon this year, which also gives me extra time to
think about what other adjustments might be helpful.
tinkering with clock changes — which has been done on and off since
World War I — people can adjust by changing their own schedules. Getting
up earlier is one way. Regular sunshine breaks would be appealing. There
could be a shift in standard business hours. Another idea is shorter
business days in the winter and longer ones in the summer.
years I handled the plunge from summer into the Dark Season by taking a
couple weeks of vacation then. That way I could be outside all I wanted
during the day, and I didn't notice the earlier darkness as much. By the
time I went back to work, I was thinking of Thanksgiving and Christmas
coming, and before I knew it, days were getting longer again.
matter what we do, it doesn’t change the sun’s reality. I suppose the
simplest adjustment is to wait until we get used to it and make the best
use of the daylight available.
Saturday after the time change, I did appreciate the weekend sunshine more
than usual, and with sunlight streaming through the church windows on
Sunday, I noticed a familiar prayer that fit in a special way. It
mentioned doing the work we're given to do "while it is day, before
the night cometh when no man can work." It's a lesson worth
relearning, even if we have to be reminded for three months or so.
All the same, if a ballot ever
presents a plan that would give people more hours of daylight in their
regular schedules, there's a good chance it would get my vote.