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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Darkening

Standard time resumed a week ago. It's one of those things that cause cyclical feelings, which never seem to be resolved. As a librarian, I look forward to the inevitable question(s), "Why do we have Daylight Savings Time?" and "What's it all about, anyway?" because I can't ever remember this one. I know it has something to do with farms, or maybe school-aged children and safety, or perhaps it is really a way to save electricity (Daylight "Savings" is my clue). None of this really makes any sense to me however I look at it. So, every year I find the answer through a very good source, pass it along to my patron, and promptly forget.

Where I live (Delaware), when winter approaches I end up going to work in the dark and by the time I return, it's, well, dark. So what is the relevance of changing from Daylight Savings to Standard Time? How does it apply to my life and to those around me?

It's mysterious, like a ritual performed for a long-ago and shadowy cause. There are so many other problems that are screaming for attention, like the current debate surrounding universal health care and the double digit unemployment figures, the unsolved wars and threats of new wars - domestic and abroad. When I recall this week's shootings in Orlando and Fort Hood, I shudder with worry, helpless as a bowl of Jello facing a tsunami. The whipped cream - the upcoming holiday season - doesn't stand a chance.

How does the U.S. measure our anger index? The strength of such an emotion is made evident in a variety of ways, from seething silence to loud destructive behaviors.

I recall President Obama's words while on the campaign trail:

One of the things I think the next president has to do is to stop fanning people's fears. If we spend all our time feeding the American people fear and conflict and division, then they become fearful and conflicted and divided. And if we feed them hope and we feed them reason and tolerance, then they will become tolerant and reasonable and hopeful. And that I think is one of the most important things that the next president can do, is try to bring us together, and stop trying to fan the flames of division that have become so standard in our politics in Washington.

— Barack Obama, You Tube

His message rang true and it fed the flames of hope in many of us. Fear is a short-term but effective way to control a nation. But where are we now? Why does my stomach still tense up when I face another month of bills and wonder if my and my family's health will hold on, our income will hold on, we need to hold on and get through this. It is a bleak time in America and I believe our complacency is wearing thin.

If only I could hibernate through the dark of our winter. Yes, a teasing and fleeting thought, but not this librarian's path.

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