A few years ago, Charles Kuralt did an on air essay about putting the hour of sunlight that was saved by daylight savings into a jar and actually saving it for a rainy day or whenever you needed some sunshine in your life.
This idea charmed me. I could see the jar of sunlight sitting on a shelf in my closet waiting for when I would need it. When would that be? Would I choose a rainy day, one filled with twilight when I wanted to go forth in brightness? Would I choose a dark night of my soul, when I was most alone with my gloomiest imaginings and ruminations? Would I share it or keep it all for myself? Would I hoard it and only let it out a precious, glowing minute at a time, trying to make the brief hour last for the six months of its shelf life?
I suppose what is most ironic about this jar of sunshine is that it is only available when we need it least, when the days are growing longer, when the light is with us more. As the days grow shorter, about the first of November, we have to dump whatever is left from the glowing jar and replace it with an hour of darkness. As with most things in life, when we need it the most, we have the least. I am rarely tempted to open the jar of gloom I get each November, and nearly always have a full jar waiting to be exchanged the next spring.
Of course, these thoughts are just that: silly imaginings, flights of fancy. Time is a theoretical construct, a will o’ the wisp, something that is there, but not there. We quantify it. Measure it. Record it. Bill for it. Waste it. Save it. Spend it. Subject it to relativity. But, we cannot create or destroy it as in “He who kills time, wounds eternity.” I think it was Elizabeth I of England who observed that despite all her power, she could not add one minute to her life. It follows that even those who control the daylight saved time must give back what they take away.