November 22, 2014
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Just as spring gets here, the clock flies ahead
This Side Up

This is the time of year I feel cheated. For as long as I can remember, spring and fall have always been the best times of year.

For the obvious reasons, spring is a relief from winter and a marvelous beginning of many things, from the early morning bird songs, to the crocuses pushing up through the dormant lawn and opening windows and letting sweet air in. You can feel it already, although it’s still a while before shutting off the heat and short sleeve weather. There have been snowstorms in April, not to mention May.

The year of the May snow is in the books – the date is there – but I doubt there is a recording of the havoc it wreaked. Many trees were in full leaf and the heavy snow brought down branches. Nature went to bat for us and was thrown a nasty curve ball. But Nature’s resilience is remarkable. Within a week, it was like nothing had happened. Grass, trees, flowers and wildlife resumed the rush, and so did we. Lawn mowers came to life, gardens were planted and people just soaked up the sun and the warmth.

And then there’s autumn.

I’ve always loved fall as a reminder of change and that life is short. The brilliance of fall – those clear crisp days against a vivid backdrop of reds, yellows and greens – is such a celebration. It’s the final movement of a symphony, as Beethoven would have heard it.

After winter’s silence, spring opens with a few soft notes, so soft that you wonder whether you have actually heard it. There’s no mistaking one aspect of the prelude. It’s the dependable sun and its movement from the East. Regardless of the temperature, and how that might affect everything else, days are getting longer and the darkness of winter is lifting.

But then we humans have to interfere.

We have our clocks to be followed and we are told that time leaps forward an hour this Sunday at 2 a.m. This is Daylight Savings Time (although I don’t understand how we have either saved the daylight or spent the time). I appreciate extending work into the sunlight evenings of summer on a farm, but that now seems an arbitrary decision. Why do it now?

My cursory search of the Internet didn’t provide an answer. I did find a lot on the history of DST that was proposed by George Vernon Hudson in 1895 and was implemented during World War I. Also, daylight savings gained in popularity in other countries following the energy crisis of the 1970s. That makes sense. And I found a reason that I had not thought of – that adding daylight to evenings benefits retailers and sporting events. I should have known that something more than saving energy and more like spending money had something to do with DST. And, of course, what would Little League games be without an extra hour?

I also learned that the change in time presents challenges by disrupting schedules, record keeping, medical devices and sleeping.

My beef is the rush to DST. It is an interruption just as the music starts, like an annoying rewind.

Even with the storms and the chill of the past weeks, the earlier arrival of the sun seems a spring overture. It’s now light long before the first roar of jets at Green Airport or the high school bus runs. What a peaceful way to start the day and a gentle reminder that spring is creeping closer and closer.

With the spring forward of an hour, we’ll be robbed of that early start. It’s like a step back into winter.


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