Of Daylight and Darkness   Leave a comment

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Here in the United States, we’ve pulled the plug on Daylight Savings Time. Oh, we’ll get it back come March, but for now, we’re darkening the evenings and lighting up the mornings just a tad. Some of us head off to work in darkness and come home when the lights come on. There seems to be something wrong with lights out at 4:30 in the afternoon. Sunlight, that is.

There are plenty of stories and studies about how harmful this rearranging of the clock can be. Circadian rhythms lose their beat. People become grouchy from the loss of an hour. Productivity slacks off at work. Accidents increase. And so on. Can’t argue with it, really. Losing that hour’s sleep in spring means I’ll have one less hour to hide under the covers and face reality. But then again, it’s so wonderful to have that extra hour once a year. It’s almost a free invitation to sleep in or stay out a bit longer than you normally would’ve.

We’ve tinkered with the time since DST was enacted in this country in 1918, just over 100 years ago. During World War II we had it year-round to make better use of sunlight. In 1975 DST was enacted in January. I remember that because I was a school kid catching the bus in the dark. Weird. And recently we’ve expanded DST to begin the last weekend in March and end the first weekend in November.

As for me, I enjoy the longer summer days. That sun comes up plenty early for me at 5:30 am and sticks around until 8:30 – in New York. Some parts of the US get even more. If the sun came up at 4:30 and set at 7:30, without DST, I’d feel cheated somehow. The last thing I want to do is get up that early and not be able to enjoy the pleasant rays of light hone I come home from work. Of course, there are plenty of people, like farmers and early shift workers who’d enjoy the sun rising that early.

The sun’s rays reach us for longer periods of time because the the tilt of the earth’s axis. It’s just the way our planet is positioned as it travels around the sun. But if one lives at the equator, days are fairly equal all year around. At the poles, it’s all or nothing.

It’s been deliberated that DST should end, but I can’t see that ever happening. Too many of us enjoy the long summer days, even if there’s the inconvenience of losing an hour’s sleep once a year. It might take a couple of days to adjust, but at least it happens over a weekend when most of us can sleep.

All I know is when DST goes back to Eastern Standard Time, I’m a little sad, because it means the nights are creeping closer and the daylight is drawing thin. Sunlight’s a precious gem, to be appreciated when it’s given, for when it’s gone, it’s dark out there, folks! But once December 21 hits, it’s all uphill from there.

In the meantime, appreciate the moon. It shines its highest and brightest in winter. There’s nothing so glorious as to see it glisten on the snow. Or lighten the nighttime skies in the Caribbean, where one might be taking a vacation to skip out on winter.

Posted November 3, 2019 by seleneymoon in Seasons, The Sun

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