Finding peace with the darkness
As much as I love the changing season, the vibrant colors of trees and countryside, the upcoming holidays with feasting and family, and enjoy living in Kansas where our life cycles revolve around nature, I still must contend with the early darkness that comes each fall with the end of daylight savings time.
In the summer and early fall, you can still water your geraniums and take a bike ride at 7:30 or 8 in the evening. As darkness creeps in bit by bit to 6:30, it's still OK. However, when the clocks rolled back this past weekend and darkness is now upon us at 5:30, the restlessness sets in.
Ever positive, my son remarked, "Now mom, just think what you can do with all those extra hours in the evening." The thought comes, "Just what am I to do with them?"
I'm sure harried young mothers and fathers are thankful for the early evenings that give them more time together because it is easier to round up the kids to get homework done and send them off to bed.
Trying to stay positive as my son suggested, but with no creative thoughts in my head, I wandered into the living room and switched on the television, only to be greeted with the same stuff that was on last spring when I happily abandoned TV viewing. Flipping through the channels, I found even more reality shows with even more silly people doing silly things. Even PBS and the History Channel were disappointing. I did watch a couple of monster movies left over from the 1950s, reminding us Halloween is upon us before turning off the TV.
Still trying, I made a list of things to do from 6 to 10 p.m. Reading is a given. I could spend more time writing this column. I could even dust and re-arrange the books that are piling up again. I could go through the boxes of family snapshots and get them in proper frames for the photo wall I've been planning for two years. In desperation, I could even clean the oven.
Or, I could just be happy for the winding down of summer activity and enjoy each day as it comes.
I preach this relaxed attitude a lot but practicing is another thing. I recalled a recent paragraph from Oprah Winfrey's column in her magazine: "No matter what our troubles, when the earth turns on its axis one more time and we see what appears to be the sun rising, I feels it's the universe calling for a change in ourselves. You have one more day. Rise with it!"
It's a lovely reminder that I am privileged to still have each day and each sundown no matter what time that is, and to stop grumbling about the approaching winter and its darkness.
Once again our athletic teams in Eudora are a great source of pride. Our Eudora High School girls volleyball team has finally been given its just due by winning the 4A state championship. Our football team has given us much excitement as we advance undefeated into the playoffs. Our cross country teams continue its excellence and our soccer team is coming along nicely.
Judging from The Eudora News last week, our students know how to play together much better than the city council. As our sports teams continue to excel in all fields and as coaches and players speak of teamwork and playing together, other headlines indicate our city fathers are not doing too well in that area.
None of us are privy to what actually occurs within this small group as most discussions on sensitive subjects are in private, and rightly so.
However, what has come to light has shown a council divided and engaging in personal attacks. We see this every day with public officials in higher levels and have come to almost expect media ads filled with suggestions our politicians throw at each other to maintain or gain power. It's another thing to see it in people we see each day in a small town and who many of us know personally.
My daughter said once that she wanted nothing to do with politics as it creases separation and costs friendships, and yet I know that if anything is to get done in our town at this critical time of growth, it will involve sacrifice. My hope would be that such a sacrifice could be rewarded with an environment of fair play and respect.
The courts require judges to wear a robe as a sign of respect for office but also to emphasis that person wearing it is putting aside personal opinion to represent the welfare of others. Maybe some sign of deference for the job should be given city officials as they take office to remind them that they are now taking on a public position where respect and dignity are required as they put aside personal differences to work for the welfare of all the citizens of Eudora whom they have promised to represent.