In the northwest, this is the time of year we ‘fall back’ by turning our clocks back one hour. It’s an old law that was meant to give farmers more time to work in the fields harvesting crops. It made sense then, it makes no sense now. And yet, we are still stuck in lock step, turning our clocks back the first Sunday in November.
No one seems to like ‘springing forward’ or ‘falling back’. We all complain about lack of sleep and it upsets our body’s own natural rhythms. There’s evidence of more accidents and health issues around each time change. Which is why I’m glad the west coast has voted to stop these time changes.
Why do we try to control time?
Because we are just one species on one planet in a vast universe. We’re afraid. One of the most elemental fears is darkness. As children, we all wake up in the night afraid of the dark. We fear monsters in the darkness under the bed or shadows in the corners.
And we all know many reasons to fear the dark. There are dangerous animals outside. Violent people on the streets. More accidents happen in the night. So it makes sense to want to create more light when the days grow shorter and the nights last longer.
Light is essential to our body, mind and soul.
We need light to survive. Sunshine gives our body what we need to make Vitamin D. Seasonal light changes affect our need for food and our moods. More light, well, just helps us feel lighter, too.
That’s why we turn on the lights all around us 24/7. We want to feel safe. Protected. Healthy. With all these lights, and screens and daylight savings time, could we be missing something?
Maybe we need to honor the need for darkness too.
Just like the earth needs the change in seasons, so do we. After the blooms are gone and fruit is picked, the trees need to rest. Leaves fall to the ground and create fertilizer for the next years growth.
Darkness cools and soothes and cradles new seeds and sleeping babies. Perhaps seasonal light changes not just trees but our very nature, too.
We can slow down. Tuck into bed early. Rest by the fire.
Let ourselves look up at the darkness as a place to imagine and dream.
Bringing possibility out of nothing.
Finding new ideas in the blank canvas of night.