Daylight Saving Time begins this Saturday at two in the morning. On Sunday the sun will rise at 7:02 a.m. and set at 6:42 p.m.
It seems but a short hop backwards to when the clocks were reversed an hour plunging the Island into early darkness; the covers pulled over the sun at a little past four o’clock on the shortest day of the year. And it is true the interval of Daylight Saving Time has grown shorter, adding fuel to the chorus that it is an anachronism and no longer pertinent.
Popular mythology lays the story on the farmers wanting more light to work in the fields. But in truth, farmers are not tied to clocks and the rules of men. They rise and set as they see fit.
Like most stories, money plays a part in the origins of the tradition. It was first implemented at the time of World War I as a way to save money and coal by using less electricity. The later the sun sets the fewer hours lamps need to be lit. The change was also lauded by shopkeepers; more light equals more time for browsing and buying.
But that is for the history books. What is more current is the magnetic pull of excitement the moving forward of the clocks produces.
Much like bears poking their noses out of caves of hibernation, Vineyarders have been shaking out their fur, taking long deep stretches and getting ready for the jump into spring. Could it be that on Sunday evening the docks of Menemsha will be crowded with sunset worshipers, clapping and raising a toast to the end of day? Probably not. The winds still blow and the snow and slush still falls. In fact, on gray days like this one we are reminded again of how we came through the darkness carried forth by community suppers, potluck jams, books, blankets, two-for-one entrees, movie nights and early bedtimes. The regional high school’s winter sports teams also provided much needed light. For the second year in a row all four eligible teams made it to post-season play. This weekend the boys’ basketball team heads to the University of Massachusetts in Boston to play in the Division three South Section finals.
Wishing the boys good luck and plenty of light.