Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Daylight Savings Time Blues

Springing forward into Daylight Savings Time is always painful. Springing forward in early March (rather than in late April, as we did in days of yore) is agonizing.  Springing forward in early March in western Indiana is torture.

When I moved to Indiana a year and a half ago, I was stunned to discover that the part of Indiana where I live is on Eastern time, even though we are two and a half hours south of Chicago, which is on Central time, and positioned west of Nashville, which is on Central time.  We are on the farthest west fringe of Eastern time, which means that it is DARK here in the mornings.  VERY VERY DARK here in the mornings.  But as the days crept along, moving us from the winter solstice toward the vernal equinox, it was finally getting so that the mornings were a teensy-weensy bit light, a few pale rays of hope peeking over the horizon.  Progress was being made. And now, with that hour cruelly lost last weekend, all progress was undone, and the sun rose in Greencastle this morning at 8:03.  8:03!!!

I'm haunted by these lines from Emily Dickinson:

Will there really be a "Morning"?
Is there such a thing as "Day"?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?

I want to answer Emily, "Not in Indiana, no way!"

Okay.  No more wallowing in despair. I need to get a grip on these dark mornings.  So here are the bracing thoughts I'm trying to tell myself.

1) For a person who gets up early, as I am supposed to be, it shouldn't matter whether the sun rises at 7 or 8.  A soi-disant morning person should be up at 6, or 5, or 4, long before the dawn.

2) The days WILL get longer, much as it seems now that they won't. Brighter mornings are guaranteed by the laws of science themselves.

3) So this is just a temporary setback.  And I've had so many temporary setbacks in my life. I've had rejections, bad reviews, heartbreaks, various devastating losses. I'm good at bouncing back.  I'm good at starting over.

I just checked the Old Farmer's Almanac online, and tomorrow the sun will rise in Greencastle at 8:01, and by the Ides of March it will rise at 7:58. We're making progress to the tune of a minute a day. 

And that's the way that spring comes, a minute at a time.


  1. As a late sleeper and bicycle commuter, I have to stick-up for daylight savings time. I can finally ride home from work without needing lights, and I can even ride my bike up Table Mesa to NCAR, which is off-limits for bicycles after dark. In fact, that extra hour of light during the commute makes a significant improvement in safety for bicycles and pedestrians. If I had my way, we would have daylight savings all year and all of Indiana would be in the Central Time Zone.

  2. But Scott, but here it would be too dark in the morning for you to ride your bike to work without needing lights, so I don't see how you'd gain. I always want to agree with you on everything because you are so smart and wise, but I think I'm going to have to hold out against you on this one!

  3. You underestimate my ability to sleep late. I often don't leave home until 10:00!!! (I know, its shocking.) Of course you're right that the total amount of daylight can't be increased, and the effect on traffic safety isn't large. The Wikipedia consensus seems to indicate that switching to Daylight Savings does cause few percent reduction in traffic fatalities.

    [By the way, Blogsopt is asking me to read a scrambled letter puzzle to publish these comments. I don't mind doing that, but I thought you hated those puzzles and weren't planning to implement comment approval rather than the letter scrambles.]

  4. Once the spammers found me, they found me en masse, and so I had to do the letter scramble thing, which I always hate doing on other people's blogs because I get them wrong nine times out of ten. :(