no Savings grace
Like most opinionated vocal people I have pet peeves. Changing the clock twice a year is one of them. When these changes were six months apart, I didn’t mind them so much. But now that it is almost eight months and four months, I find this practice unsettling.
This is likely because I am so dependent on order and routine as I have harped on before. It is an idiosyncrasy, I know, that just works better for high strung folks like me.
First of all, I grew up in a northern area. There were four distinct seasons that we could count on. We had warm, moist springs, hot stormy summers, cool crisp falls, and clear, cold, dry winters — there were short, long and medium days to go with that, which hardly varied. I love that and could count on it in a way that made a number of things rich, interesting and reliable. The predictability of the seasons, almost like clockwork meant you didn’t have to think about it, because it was almost set in stone.
For example, we all had four different wardrobes – one for each season. I love that because not only does it inject order, but it forces variety. It also simplifies clothing decisions. In the fall we wore muted autumn colors, corduroys, suede, and light weight wools. We would put on jackets, rarely coats. On our feet were leather and suede shoes and ankle boots. In the winter, heavier coats, scarves and hats emerged. Black, gray, winter white, military red matched the deep shadows and the clean dry snow that frequently blanketed the ground. Wool pants, knee and thigh-high boots, leather and fleece-lined coats, heavy wool sweaters, especially turtlenecks. When spring rolled around, out came the light weight raincoats, fashionable galoshes and over-shoe buttoned ankle boots of light rubber, medium weight silks and spring wools and delicate leaf colors, rose, sky blue. Summer? Cotton, linen, muslin, bright colors and sandals or open toe shoes (you never wore these any other time). You get the idea. You would never ever see a NYer wearing a pink short-sleeved sheath dress in October as I just observed a newscaster wearing this week. White shoes? Summer only. Patent leather: spring and summer. You knew what to wear to look appropriate.
The short days as fall gave way to winter helped to calm the spirit and draw attention inward. Rudolf Steiner speaks of this in terms of the natural rhythms of nature when the earth contracts to its most inward point on December 21 and expands on June 21, six months apart. The planet breathes in and breathes out and all of nature does the same. Animals, plants, insects when left alone and not hindered by man’s activities, follow this natural progression. Children do best when these circadian rhythms are observed and maintained. I am confident adults do too. Our sleep habits would be best in utter darkness, we are most alert in natural light. I won’t go through all the examples that show: there is an order and a timing to the universe and the better we are at matching it, the healthier and more calm and energized we will be.
My Dad has a more radical idea that he floated at the legendary dinner discussions that took place at 6 sharp each night when I was growing up. As an aside, I clearly imprinted a lot of his militaristic discipline. He was out the door at 7 each morning, at his job by 8 and home by 5 pm every weekday. Saturdays he was up at 5 to play golf and then home to do chores. Sundays were the same, golf, chores, sports on TV and perhaps going in to the office. We had dinner each night at 6 and there was no TV until after that was over and the kitchen and dining room were clean and readied for breakfast. Our dinner discussions were always science, philosophy, history or politics. My parents did not particularly care for trivia and were not gossips. I don’t remember them commenting if celebrities lived unusual lives — they appreciated their music and art but not their personal attributes. So we talked about other things.
That was the backdrop for a lot of unusual conversations. My father said we should have one time, 24 hour or military style, for the entire world. Not different time zones. Just make it one time all over the world, obviously with people doing things appropriate to when the sun rose and set in their particular location. It would take more than this post to spin that concept out to its farthest implications but in the work I do it would solve some problems. For one thing, I work with people in other time zones here in the US and occasionally in other countries. They never know what time it is in California and I have to strain my brain to figure out what time it is where they are. Sometimes they call me in the middle of the night — how annoying is that?
A recent example of how this can confuse things is an online seminar that I participated in last week. We were told that it was to take place at 6 pm CET. One third of the attendees were off by an hour or two in either direction, so there was a lot of wasted time waiting to see if people were going to join the seminar (which lasted three hours with a break). Throughout the whole thing, people were showing up and apologizing or complaining about the mix ups. It would also eliminate having to figure out who was and wasn’t on ‘savings’ time and all the complications that makes, as the times when this program starts and ends varies from place to place and year to year.
Here was an interesting article that someone sent me on this topic, last week:
I could not do a better job of explaining why simplification to fewer time zones would benefit everyone, and shrinking the time differences, at a minimum in the US, would be a vast improvement over our current system.
Most people want to be national and international, as the article points out. I get up at 4 am Pacific time for a variety of reasons, one of them being that I do travel to the East Coast from time to time and that way I can keep my schedule intact by rising at 7 am when I am there and retiring at about the same time I do back here in California.
I have friends from Sweden who live a lot of the year in a twilight atmosphere, with few discernible adverse effects. (Before anyone says it, they are not all committing suicide because of the reduced sunlight, either).
I want to streamline my life, including my interactions. I don’t want to have to change everything asymmetrically twice a year because some farmer 150 years ago needed extra daylight. I like the evening falling early in the fall and winter. It makes a hyper person like me rest more. I don’t want to have to change the sprinkler timers and the animal’s waking and sleeping schedule. I am also not fond of resetting the few dozen timers and clocks we still have all around our house.
Maybe others will get on board with this gradually and gracefully, and we will transition to a truly no-boundaries single world time zone that connects us all in this one important way.
And, don’t mind me, I am just cranky from getting up this morning at 3 am!
Images: sldinfo.com, japancrush.com, huffingtonpost.ca, saveourh20.com