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It's Time to Spring Forward!

This Clayton Patch columnist looks at the enigma that is Daylight Savings Time.

Tonight we engage in the annual ritual of setting our clocks forward before we go to bed as we begin daylight savings time.

Technically, the time change does not take place until 2 a.m. Sunday morning.

Personally, daylight savings has always been something of an enigma for me. I was taught as a child that it was implemented years ago so farmers would have more afternoon time for their work during the summer. But a quick bit of research on the Internet does not bear that out all.

Some regions observe it. Some do not. Here in the United States most of Arizona ignores it. Hawaii ignores it also. For years Indiana, which is split between time zones to begin with, was schizophrenic with regard to daylight savings with most of the state skipping over the event. But that recently changed when they voted to embrace it.  

In recent times daylight savings time has been a political football and its application has turned toward energy use and conservation. Although, I could never figure out how using less energy for lights in the evening meant less use in the morning.

One of my clearest memories of the time switch was during the energy crisis of the 1970s was when in 1974 it was extended year round. In the fall, we began going to school in the dark; sunrise was at the end of our first period class.

Good thing I had science class and not gym for first period.

I remember using plenty of lights in the morning and my parents complaining that they saw no change in their PG&E bill.

In 2007, we extended daylight savings time by a month. It began three weeks earlier in the spring (second Sunday in March) and lasted one week longer (first Sunday in November) in the fall. This was done as part of a federal energy savings plan.

Still, many people love daylight savings time for the perception of the extra sunlight it provides. My mother is among them. She absolutely dreads the end of it in the fall. For her, it’s the temporal equivalent to the shadow of death.

Curious about the phenomena, I asked a few people at The Grove how they felt about it. 

“I love it,” exclaimed Matt Drobick who was at the park with his wife and child.

“It gives you more time to do stuff late,” Drobick said. “You can surf longer too.”

Mia Rogers likes daylight savings time a great deal.

“I like it because the kids can play more after school,” she said.

Clayton resident Sandy was watching over her grandchildren at The Grove. Sandy did not want to give her last name because she fears Facebook and the internet in general. But, she loves daylight savings time because the evenings are brighter.

“I grew up in Wheatland, California and we saw more sunlight during the summer months to play outside. We loved it.”

So, don’t forget the old saw, spring forward and fall back. Set your clock forward before you go to bed Saturday night. Tomorrow will be a brighter day.

Oooops, I just noticed rain is in the forecast for Sunday.

Kevin Keeler is a columnist for Clayton Patch.

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