Saturday, November 5, 2016

Waiting for the sun

I woke up this morning before 7:00 and it was dark out. By 8:00 it was still dark. Now, at 8:30 it's starting to get light.

Part of the darkness is the heavy cloud cover. I have not looked outside at the sky yet, but I've been hearing the dripping from the eaves that means a consistent, substantial rainfall.

The other part of the darkness is the season. There are three months between fall equinox and winter solstice, and we're about halfway through that period. We're getting to the dark time of the year.

A third factor in the darkness is the clock. Tonight will finally, finally, finally end Daylight Saving Time. We will "fall back" an hour, which means that today's 7:00 a.m. will be tomorrow's 6:00 a.m. When my windows lighten up with tomorrow's morning sun, it will be 7:30 instead of 8:30.

I know I've said before how much I dislike Daylight Saving Time. I hate to "spring ahead" and have to get up and pretend it's 7:00 a.m. when it's really 6:00 a.m. Daylight Saving Time is a fake time. In some ways, time is one of those imaginary things that we all pretend is real, like money. It's a useful tool. But there is a certain physical reality to it in that "noon" is when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. But Daylight Saving Time calls it "noon" one hour before the sun is at its highest point. By what right does our government mandate a change of "noon"? And they really can't. They can call it "noon" an hour before "the sun transits the celestial meridian" (got that from Wikipedia), but they can't make the sun reach its zenith an hour earlier. Under Daylight Saving Time, we all say "noon," and then an hour later noon occurs. Frankly, this is government overreach. Indeed it is Orwellian.

I expressed a little of this to a co-worker yesterday who was bemoaning the return of our clocks to reality. She said that Daylight Saving Time makes our afternoons and evenings longer. But, no, it doesn't. The sun and the earth in their orbits don't change one little thing that they do because of any words we say or machines we adjust. Afternoons and evenings are the length they are without regard to Daylight Saving or any other clock setting. What my co-worker likes is getting out of work an hour earlier (after coming to work an hour earlier). Anyone can do that, if they choose. Any business or organization can change its opening and closing times seasonally. That's freedom. That's choice. The government stating that we must all call 11:00 "noon"—that's coercion. That's doublespeak.

I once talked with two elderly Dutch ladies in my church in California about their wartime experiences in the Netherlands during the German occupation of World War II. One of them mentioned that the Netherlands, prior to the invasion, had its own time zone (according to Wikipedia "Amsterdam Time," being approximately 20 minutes in advance of Greenwich Mean Time), but when the Germans came, they ruled that the Netherlands must function according to Berlin time, and the Dutch must move their clocks an hour and 40 minutes ahead to be in step with the Third Reich. These ladies, sisters, said that their father stubbornly refused to change the clocks in his house, and so figuring out how to catch a train, for instance, became rather complicated for the household. I'm with that old man.

Maybe next year I'll refuse to spring my clocks ahead and just re-set my alarms in the knowledge that I have to show up an hour earlier for everything for eight months of the year. Such a bother.

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