Some say the Island shifts after Labor Day, with roads suddenly quieter and Five Corners again a place of corners rather than complaints over traffic and long waits. Others point to Columbus Day as the moment of reckoning. More stores close. Leaves change color and bid adieu to their branches, echoing the slump and slide of a shoulder season on the wane. The end of Daylight Saving Time, though, is also worthy of the crown. Last Sunday, darkness fell an hour earlier, with sunset occurring at 4:33 p.m. The turn toward deep off-season was as distinct as needing to use the high beams just to get home at the end of the work day.
Beards will soon blossom again, bodies disappear beneath layers of warmth and hot soup will be invited as a kitchen regular. The real cold hasn’t arrived yet, but the darkness makes it feel as if it has.
For some the clock shift was good news, albeit news that didn’t last. Kids willingly went to bed at bedtime and woke up early enough to actually eat breakfast and do homework before school began. Parents felt a bit of euphoria that counteracted the loss of Vitamin D. But the kids soon adjusted and were once again their surly selves upon being rousted for school.
For others it was an occasion to grumble and question why this old tradition still lingers. In fact, it began during World War I as a nod to economics. But this was about advancing the clocks forward in spring to add more daylight to the day. More daylight meant more time for commerce and less need to use electricity by turning on the lights.
Turning the clocks back is then a return to normalcy.
Peering out of the house, every room well lit, into the darkness of 6 p.m may cause one to question this fact. But step outside and stand a moment to let the eyes adjust. There is light out there. The moon and stars, but also, paradoxically, in the pitch black of deep darkness.
We light our lives so brightly that the glare can be blinding. Sometimes it takes darkness to cast a deeper light.