originally published November 5, 2013
Spring forward, Fall back. Spring back, Fall forward. Either one makes perfect sense to me. Daylight saving time. Who are we kidding? We aren’t saving anything, Any more than borrowing on your mortgage to make an RSP contribution is saving money. But I’ve got it wrong, haven’t I? We’re saving day light time for those important activities, The ones we can’t do in the dark, Like pushing a button to light the gas barbecue. Or playing electronic games after school. The dark hours are relegated to unimportant things. Like getting out of bed, and searching the house for your phone, keys and other necessities of work. Carelessly discarded on a March evening when you came home and jubilantly cast them aside to race outside to do a little gardening in while it was still light, only to discover it was a bone-chilling 5 degrees, your boots stuck in the mud like rebar in cement, and the plants wanted to be left well enough alone because it was far too early for this, wasn’t it? But I’m being unfair. Time is something we created. It’s a handy concept. Much easier to meet someone for a pub lunch at 12:30, than about half way between the time the sun rises and sets. And the time to quit work for the day is so much easier to identify on a clock, than by looking at the sky, especially if you are in the basement of a large office building. It’s our right to do with time as we please. And if we all believe that 7 am is a respectable time to begin the day, Then we should adjust 7 am to be the time when the sunlight is best for: Harvesting the crops, Conserving energy Or engaging in outdoor activities. The question is, Does it really work for the lives we live today? The time change is supposed to remind us to change the batteries in smoke detectors but the connection is tenuous. Debate rages over whether it saves energy or not, while we turn on more lights in the morning but fewer in the evening yet have our air-conditioners on longer in the heat of the night. The time change could contribute to economic growth, As it apparently increases shopping. Who knew it was better to spend time in windowless stores in the daylight? Pedestrians need to be careful. They are struck by cars at an alarming rate just after the time change. How does one little hour difference discombobulate us so? Pets and children are naturally oblivious to it. It’s like we’re transplanted to a parallel reality, where everything is just a little different. The light is wrong. Our urges are wrong. We are dead tired. All in all, I think it’s worth it, For the one Twenty five hour day we get once a year, Which seems as long as a month of Sundays.