Oh happy, happy day. Sweet blissful hour. I feel like singing. I’d probably whistle a tune if I could; dance a jig if I wouldn’t embarrass myself.
Now, by the time you read this, my favorite hour of the whole entire year will have come and gone. And of course as I’m writing this, I can only do so in anticipation of its arrival, though if all goes as planned, I will sleep right through it.
You know what hour I am talking about, don’t you? Yeah. The one we lost last spring (well technically it was still winter) when, for logic that for years has escaped me, we sprang ahead an hour to begin daylight saving time.
A-a-a-a-arrrr-gh. I really hate those three words together. You can’t save daylight for crying out loud.
You can save dryer lint. You can save pop tops. You can save plastic bags. You can save water, money, gas. Technically, I guess you can save energy. Electricity? Well, I’ve moved us past an area of my expertise, so I don’t know, but maybe that’s doable. It should be.
Maybe it’s possible to save the world. At least that’s a noble goal we each might attempt.
But daylight can’t be saved. The sun comes up in the morning. The sun goes down in the evening. God had it all worked out so that as the seasons pass, the hours of daylight and the hours in the night expand and decrease almost imperceptibly so that in the summer the days are longer and in the winter the days are shorter.
And all of that is completely OK. What’s not OK is to arbitrarily reschedule the hours of daylight and dark with an on-demand time change. What’s not only not OK, but infuriating to me, is that it’s semantically called “daylight saving time.” Because – and not to be redundant – not one second of daylight has ever been saved.
Maybe in Benjamin Franklin’s time when daylight saving time was first contrived, they saved on wicks and candlewax because of the perception the daylight lasted longer in the evening. I believe, though, it was Ben himself who said saving daylight is like cutting one end off of a blanket and sewing the cut end to the blanket’s opposite side and pronouncing the blanket had just been made longer.
No. The blanket didn’t get any longer, and neither does the day.
So, like I do every winter/spring when the time changes, I cursed, grumbled and complained, like it was going to do any good at all. And, eventually, like I always do, I adjusted, but adjustment isn’t the same as like.
Granted, when it was summer, we enjoyed the extra time at the pool before dark, when it wasn’t scorching-middle-of-the-afternoon hot, and this fall, even, there have been times it was sort of nice to have a little longer daylight in the evening.
But, and this is a big but, in the morning, coming east on my morning commute when the sun is glaring right in my eyes, I’m thinking and blinking, “If we had only stayed on God’s good time, I wouldn’t be facing this. Nope, that old sun would have climbed pretty high in the sky by now, and everything would be fine. Just fine.”
Anyway, what gets me through is I know they can’t keep pretending we have saved that silly little old hour forever, and come the fall it will be back, back exactly where it is supposed to be. And this is it, at something like 2 a.m. the prodigal hour returned.
How glad I am going to be to have it back.
I intend to welcome that sweet hour as I always do, burrowed down under the covers sound asleep. And when the Sunday alarm sounds at 6 it will feel so luxurious to stretch, and greet the day, because 6 a.m. real time is delightfully, deliciously, wonderfully, decadently an hour later than 6 a.m. daylight saving time.
There’s an old Chinese proverb, you know, with a sobering bit of wisdom I think applies to this circumstance.
“If you want happiness for an hour,” it advises, “take a nap. If you want happiness for a day – go fishing. If you want happiness for a month – get married. If you want happiness for a year – inherit a fortune.”
Pretty cynical I guess, right up until the last line.
“But if you want happiness for a lifetime,” the proverb concludes, “help others.”
Tell you what, I’ll put lifetime happiness on my agenda. Today though, I am glad to have my hour back.
Candace Cooksey Fulton is a freelance writer, formerly of Brownwood, living now in San Angelo. She can be reached at email@example.com