This past week marked the beginning of seasonal depression for some.  While it’s safe to say that most of us appreciated the extra hour to sleep or shop or watch football last Sunday, come darkness at 5:00 p.m.,  and a collective groan could be heard across the land.  It was the top of conversation all week as if the return to standard time had never happened before.  I heard more than one lamenter remark that they “couldn’t believe” it was dark outside already.  The observation was followed by a long sigh, revealing, in fact, that they could indeed “believe it.”  They just didn’t like it.

I, however, did not join the Misery Chorus.

It wasn’t easy.  I share the love of Daylight Savings Time with my fellow sun chasers.  The opportunity to stretch those long, lazy days of spring and summer into warm dusky evenings is something I look forward to every season, mostly because the longer days go hand in hand with rising temperatures, which is where the true delight lies for me.  I’m not sure staying outside until 9:00 p.m. would have the same draw if it were 35 degrees and we were dressed in parkas instead of tank tops.

And herein lies why I don’t mind (dare I say enjoy?) the seasonal return to standard time.

When daylight savings time comes to an end, it is the Universe sending us an important message.  Whereas summer time propels us out of our homes, urging us to spread out and expand our longitudes and latitudes, standard time beckons us inward, compelling us to gather close.  The warmth we seek is waiting for us in our homes, where lights glow, meals are warm, and a cozy blanket on a cold night is all we need to feel safe and happy.

These are the days of soup and fire places… of hot chocolate and fleece slippers… of staying in and snuggling on the sofa under an afghan as the wind whips up outside.  As I walk the dog down my street, I pull my coat just a little tighter around me and fondly seek the light coming from neighbors’ windows, behind which I know families are gathered, eating dinner, doing homework, watching the early news, and being together.  I pick up my pace and head for the light which I know best, where my own family waits to spend the evening hunkered down, creating our a warmth that is almost tribal in its intent.

Without the cold and the dark, how could we ever fully appreciate the light and radiance of our homes?

In perfect rhythm, our temperatures dropped precipitously this past week – and promise to plummet in the days ahead.  It happens every year, reminding us that warmth can always be found on the inside.  So when it’s 5:00 p.m. and dark as pitch outside, consider it a calling to gather with your people, be grateful for your opportunities to shelter yourself with others, and know that all is as it should be.

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