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Spring Forward, Fall Back

Mar 31, 2019

            Long ago when I was growing up in New Hampshire I used to love winter, all that deep snow and astonishing sub-zero cold and tromping through the woods on my snowshoes – right up until about March, when suddenly I would tire of the whole thing and be eager for a change. From then on I would start cheering on spring, delighting in seeing the snow retreat, those first promising patches of bare ground, the piquant smell of damp earth and the liquid treble of meltwater. I revelled in the freedom of no longer requiring snowshoes to go for walks in the woods, but could happily get by in just my LL Bean boots, their high leather tops proof against the slush and mud as I poked along the banks of the brook, surveying my old favourite fishing holes, or re-exploring the beaver bogs after the hard winter, full of jaunty expectancy at the thought that fishing season would soon commence.

            And then every year, sometime in the first week of April, reliable as clockwork, a late season blizzard would blow in out of nowhere, dump a foot and a half of snow, and set the change of season back by another couple of weeks. At least. It always just seemed so gratuitous. It was snow that did nobody any good, a waste, really, of a perfectly good blizzard that would have been treasured in February but in April was simply an impediment, an irritation, a heartbreak. Enough already. Let’s just get on with spring.

            Which is precisely how I feel about changing the clocks for daylight savings time, irritated, frustrated, wanting to get on with the deliciously early summer mornings. For weeks now when I have been going out on my pre-dawn morning rides, I have been taking quiet pleasure in seeing the subtle changes in the sky, the gradual lightening as sunrise came earlier and earlier each day, until this past week I needed my headlamp only for the first half an hour or so, and could enjoy the sunrise as I pedalled along the seafront promenade. But now, as of this morning, we’re back to starlight again – gratuitously, in my opinion, not that anyone is asking. I do appear to be in good company though as regards my dislike of daylight savings. An article I read in the Guardian this week about the EU’s desire to put an end to daylight savings, reported that 82 per cent of British respondents in a poll about daylight sayings wanted to see the practice ended. Alas, it also reported that the British government has shown absolutely no interest in pursuing this. What was good enough for the home front in 1916, when daylight savings time was first introduced, is still good stuff today in their view, so the only change in sight for us is the change back to standard time later this year on 27 October.