Sunday, March 9, 2014
Daylight Savoring Time
Hope stopped by for a visit today. Winter had a senior moment. The dribs and drabs of March were rearranging into the birds and bards of April. What released this new surge of optimism? Milder temperatures; and a dividend of daylight we pay ourselves this time of year as part of the Spring Forward and Save Daylight Sale!
Daylight is an almanacky word, slightly herbal, smelling of woodsmoke, and good for you. It shines with almost the same brimming beam as delight. However, its allegiance is divided between the day and the light, and it wanders into other contexts—the living daylights (sense and sanity) that are knocked or scared out of you; the daylight you put between two things that were too close together; the dawning awareness of something formerly obscure.
Twice a year, daylight is a commodity, a natural gift we can seemingly control like a tap or a dam or a lock. In pre-spring we save it by cutting an hour out of the day and putting it in the bank, to be redeemed in the fall. Somehow this game of self-deception works. The twilight that only yesterday belonged to 6:00 now belongs to 7:00, and 6:00 basks in the bronzy late sun that used to be the property of 5:00. And so on: natural light flooding new windows of time with brighter, newly-appreciated, luminosity.
There' s something charmingly old-fashioned and Groundhog Daylike about this formula of turning clocks and watches ahead or back twice a year, revealing "our" time as the malleable stuff it is. Ironically, this tick-tock tactic is meant to give us more time for nature's time, the planetary orbit (or bit thereof), the energizing earth and atmosphere, wind and water, "the force that through the green fuse drives the flower," to quote Dylan Thomas's powerful poem about youth and aging.
I'll buy some of that juice, Bruce.