Thursday, March 12, 2009

Daylight Savings Time: Wintering Forward

It's a gloomy Thursday outside, cold and grey. There was a magnificant sunrise starting to happen on the horizon. It was still dark when I got up. I hate when Daylight Savings Time happens. I had got used to the dawn twilight peeking in my window at 6:45 a.m. as if urging me to get up. As it got lighter, I became more awake. When I'd get home from work, it would be getting dark around 6:30 p.m. so that by the time I ate dinner, I could pull the blinds and settle in for the night.

Daylight Savings Time has ruined that pattern. Now when I wake up, it's still completely dark. When I woke up Monday morning, I seriously couldn't figure out why my alarm clock was going off. It seemed so early that I almost turned off the music that was trying to wake me up. Then I groggily realized that it was, in fact, time to get up. My body was not fooled. It knew that it was really only 5:45 a.m. but thanks to the conspirators of the universe, I had to go along with their sadistic plot to pretend it was an hour later.

I know that recently, they've moved the dates around as to when Daylight Savings Time begins and ends. It used to be a little later in the Spring and a little earlier in the Autumn. That made a little more sense. It gave the earth a little more time to spin so that it was not quite so dramatic a change to us. It also used to let us say "Spring Forward", "Fall Back" to remember which way to move the hour on the clock. Naturally, I find it necessary to point out that when move Daylight Savings Time up to WINTER, that nice little adage doesn't really help. Yes, it is still winter. Spring begins on March 21 (or 22, depending where you are). Daylight Savings Time happened on March 8th. Yes, people, we are now Wintering Forward but still Falling Back. That's a bit odd really, isn't it?

I know it's all about saving electricity and all that but some of us humans are already just a few steps away from wanting to hibernate in the winter (and yes, mum, I am actually talking about you). Thus, like a big fuzzy bear who is planning on sleeping until late March but is rudely awoken while it's still pitch black and freezing outside and then isn't allowed to sleep anymore, the new, earlier Daylight Savings Time is a little intrusive. There real sign of spring outside except for the fact that it no longer looks like Siberia but, rather, a grey soggy version of it and so it's a little unfair to expect us to instantly accept the change in time. It might not be so bad in places like California where their season exist of "Sunny with a chance of heavy rain", "Sunny with a less chance of rain but it's still possible," "Sunny and hot with no chance of rain whatsoever unless it's that weird drizzle that's just wet enough to make the cars look dirty" and "Sunny with a rare chance of rain but since it's Autumn, it could happen." Yet here, in the Midwest, it's still completely dark in the mornings. Also, I like it to get dark earlier at night. In the summer, it's nice to have long days. In the winter, it's nice to be able to cosily settle in the evenings and enjoy the glow of an electric fireplace.

I can still do that but I've been cheated. I have less time with my fireplace in the evenings and instead, that useful darkness is being forced on me in the mornings making it extremely hard to wake up. I'd like to be able to keep that darkness in the evenings a little longer, the way it used to be. I didn't like the change in time much then but at least it wasn't so dramatic, it evened out day and night a little better, rather like balancing just right on a see-saw so that it remains perfectly still rather.

I know in a week, darkness in the morning and light in the evenings will seem normal. Then the days will start to lengthen more noticeably and I'll wonder what I was complaining about. Then we'll have to move the clocks back and I'll complain about it not being dark in the mornings any more and have short the day feels because of the earlier night.

Yet, for now, I'm grousing about this side of the see-saw, the side that leaves my bedroom dark and inviting in the mornings when I have to leave my warm bed for the coldness of the late winter day. It's hard enough to get up in the mornings but when it's still dark, it can be nearly impossible. Of course, if I went to bed earlier, that might help but what fun would complaining be then?

Happy Thursday.

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