Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Fall Back, Spring Forward

This past weekend was the "Fall Back" change from Daylight Saving to Standard time. For the past month or so, my morning commutes have been completely doused in darkness from start to finish, but now and for the next couple of weeks after the change, I'll get at least a taste of daylight before I arrive at work. It's still as dark as can be when I leave, but this morning as I rode the last couple of miles in my roughly hour-long commute, I got to see this:

I don't know why it should make a difference to the way I feel during the rest of the day, but it does. Somehow, despite the fact that temperatures were only hovering around 30 degrees, things just felt a bit less cold and less dismal. On the other hand, it sure gets dark early now.

Nowadays it seems like twice a year, every year, as we change our clocks forward and back, conversation picks up about the need or the folly of playing with time the way we do. It's a surprisingly controversial topic. Much has been written about the benefits (economic, health, safety, etc.) or lack thereof. Some locations have decided to do away with the practice altogether, and politicians in other places debate doing the same. There are arguments both for and against the practice that strike me as reasonable, and I don't feel too strongly one way or the other. In the winter, when days are shorter, I appreciate a bit of light earlier in the morning - but I'm typically up so early that I'll spend my whole commute in the dark again before long. And in the summer, I appreciate the later sunset that comes with Daylight Saving time - but again, it's not like my life would change much if that sunset came an hour earlier.

This time of year, and again in the spring, I'll see different variations on this quote posted around social media sites: "Only the government would believe you can cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket." Food for thought.

Wrapping it up, I don't really know where I'm going with this, and maybe it doesn't really even matter. Is the change back and forth worth the disruption to sleep and other schedules? I don't have the answer. All I know for sure is this morning I did quite enjoy the sunrise. In the next couple of weeks it will gradually slip away from me again, but it's nice to have it when I can get it.

That's all for now.


  1. "Only the government would believe you can cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket." It seems to me that the author of that little quip is one of those anti-gummint types, and misunderstands the purpose of DST. It's not to make the day longer, but to shift the available daylight hours to times more amenable to various needs (schoolchildren walking to school, energy efficiency, etc). I pass no judgement on the merits of those claims, nor on the contrasting claims.

    1. Yeah, it's like shifting the blanket down, from leaving your head covered and feet exposed, to your body covered.

  2. Yes, whether or not to do away with the time switching has always been controversial. Your mention of riding to and from work adds another perspective I hadn't thought of. I believe Hawaii and Arizona don't do it and in Canada Saskatchewan and parts of couple other Provinces don't. I remember a resort town in Ontario stayed on Standard Time to keep the bars open an hour longer in the summer. But to make the switch there would have to be consensus all over North America due to all the devices that get switched automatically via the internet. Personally I've found myself waking earlier and later as the time changes approach.

  3. My wife and I were out walking in the dunes today, checking out some old German bunkers. The wind was brisk and it was just above freezing, but it was sunny and beautiful. We remarked on how low the sun was in the sky, a product not of some artificial time, but of the simple rotation and tilt of the earth. Rather lovely.