Monday, November 5, 2012

Fall back

A quick read on my Facebook and Twitter feeds over the past weekend has left me thinking that most people hate the back and forth between daylight savings and standard time.

My question is this:


My second question is this:

No seriously, why? Don't you have better things to worry about?

Okay, okay, I get it. Moving the clocks forward every spring means that you lose an hour of precious sleep, and yes, that kind of sucks. But isn't that a small price to pay for having an extra hour of daylight? For leaving work and seeing the sun still up relatively high in the sky? For having a couple of hours of patio time to kick back a beer after a hard day at work? For farmers having a longer day to get their crops in and to work in the fields? 

And don't even pretend that the extra hour of sleep on the eve of returning to standard time is not something that you have always looked forward to. Think back to your drunken university days, and I dare you to tell me that you didn't get extra excited to know that for one night of the year, all the bars were open until 3:00 instead of 2:00, giving you a whole extra hour to dance, to pick up, and to get slammed. 

And even now that we are all a little bit more mature, a lot more busy, and even a lot more stressed, the idea of an extra hour of sleep is positively intoxicating. Because let's face it. Who gets enough sleep?

Yet all day yesterday, Facebook was filled with complaints about the return to standard time. Pictures of the city skyline at the "new" dusk (5:00 pm). Taglines that read "It's time to get rid of daylight savings time" (which is funny because turning the clock back is the end of daylight savings time) or "Winter sucks" or "I want the light back" or the simple yet eloquent ":(".

But my favourite Facebook complaint yesterday went something like this: "I wish someone would tell (insert kid's name here) that turning the clocks back means an extra hour of sleep." Parents everywhere were up at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. because, despite their best efforts to keep the wee ones up late the night before, the body clock does what the body clock does... 

Well, I have no kids, so this isn't a problem for me. And I guess I am a little bit unsympathetic. Especially as I selfishly enjoyed that extra hour of sleep with nothing to force me out of my warm bed...

The thing is that I love this time of year. The trees changing colours, the crisp chill in the air, hikes through falling leaves in Gatineau Park... But one of the things that I love most about this time of year is that I am a morning person. And by turning the clocks back, I get a few more precious hours, ever dwindling that they may be until December 21st, of sunlight in the morning.

This very morning, I woke up at 5:45 and was greeted by dark. I puttered around the house to find my slightly-more-insulated running gear (since it was -9 with the windchill), my running head-light, and Fergus' blinking white collar light. By 6:20, we were ready to go. I opened the door, and was instantly reminded of the return to standard time when I saw that the sky was decidedly brighter than it had been 20 minutes earlier. So I took off my head lamp, turned off the Beast's collar light, and set out for a brisk 8k run. When I got to the end of Preston Street, I was supposed to turn left to follow the path along the canal. But then I realized that we could actually run into the Arboretum this morning. This is, of course, Fergus' favourite place in the whole wide world, but we have not run through here in at least 4 weeks because it is not well lit. And it is never a good idea for a lone runner - even with a dog - to run through an unlit area. 

And so, for the first time in 4 weeks, the Beast got to run off-leash at 6:30 in the morning while we went on our run. And I got to enjoy another weekday morning in the peaceful Arboretum, which is undoubtedly a much better way to greet the day than the busy (although well-lit) city streets. And the best part of all is that, on our way back, the sun was actually up in the sky, and I actually wished that I had my sunglasses with me because it was so bright. 

Yes, it will be a little sad to come out of work today and to see the dusk settling in. And yes, the shorter days will soon win out and I'll be back to running in the dark - with Fergus no longer able to go off-leash - for a couple of long months. But I, for one, am going to enjoy these next precious few mornings of sunlight. And so is Fergus.

And so will the school kids, I would wager, who no longer have to wait for the school bus in the dark... So you see, parents, there are plenty of good reasons to turn the clocks back.