The Time of Our Lives

Reminders about the end of daylight saving time have begun to crop up, opportunities for a little congenial and inconsequential grumping in the midst of Eurozone crises, premature snow and political theatre. Some wish “the longer day” would be made permanent. Others consider the fuss over “falling back”  nothing more than a relic of another time, like barn-raisings and butter churns.

The annual discussions are repetitive, and predictable as the seasons. Does our clock manipulation save energy? Should it be standardized across the country? Does it help or hurt school children?

I don’t think definitive answers are possible, and I personally don’t care. Like an old-fashioned farmer, I work by the sun, not the clock. Grandma liked to say she worked from “kin to cain’t” – from the moment when the first bird took flight into the dawn until the last light faded against the hills – and I love embodying that part of her tradition. Still, living as I do in a world of clock-and-calendar sorts, it’s important to take their realities into account – including the transition back to “standard” time.

One friend takes the mandate to set her clocks back one hour at 2 a.m. so seriously she sets an alarm.  A bit of a literalist, she doesn’t want to be late in meeting her civic obligation, but she doesn’t want to be early, either.  She’s done it that way for years, and for years I’ve given her a hard time about it.  Unflappable, she says that’s the way it’s “supposed” to be done, and if only everyone would get up in the middle of the night and set their clocks as they’re told, fewer people would be late for worship on Sunday morning, or miss their favorite television program.

I’ve never dared tell her about my approach to the end of daylight saving time.  There’s no question she’d be scandalized, and perhaps even tempted to give me a middle-of-the-night call just to get me moving. She’d be testing our friendship, because I rarely prowl in the middle of the night, and can’t imagine getting up to change clock settings. I don’t even reset them before I go to bed, as many do, or adjust them first thing in the morning after the change.

Instead, I consider that hour we “gain” as we “fall back” to be pure gift.  It’s a little chunk of time, just lying there at the edge of my life, and it’s mine to do with as I please.  Every year, I save my hour of re-claimed time until I need it, or find a frivolous use for it. While everyone else is running around resetting clocks, I’m sitting back with my feet up and a smile on my face, secure in the knowledge of secret time safely tucked into my pocket.  When I decide I need that extra hour, I use it first and then reset the clocks, putting myself back in synch with everyone else.

Years ago, when I had a “real” job and was expected to show up at weekend events, it wasn’t so easy.  By Sunday afternoon, I often had to be on the same schedule as my co-workers. Even now, there are limits to how long I can hold on to my hour. It really isn’t feasible to keep it for Christmas shopping in December, or those especially pleasant February afternoons when rose-pruning or park-walking are nearly unbearable temptations.

Still, within reasonable limits, choosing a use for that extra hour can be delightful. Imagine, for example, that you’ve spent the entire day-after-daylight-saving-time-ends doing paperwork, or laundry.  At 5 o’clock, you decide you’ve had enough.  You pull out your extra hour, declare it 4 o’clock, and sit back and relax. If you’d prefer a leisurely, late-afternoon walk, it’s just as simple. Tuck your extra hour into your bag and set off at a brisk clip until you feel yourself tiring. Then, take out your bit of time and slow down, secure in the knowlege you’ll be home for dinner.

Of course it’s a little crazy, this pretense of mine,but I’ve done it for years.  I’ve used my extra hour to repot African violets, read The New Yorker, watch the sunset and brush the cat.  I’ve spent my extra hour talking with a friend on the phone and browsing a bookstore. Once, I took a nap. I’ve used the time early, and I’ve used the time late.  But always I use it with full awareness that it is my hour, to do with as I please. If I choose to save it until Monday morning and dedicate it to an extra cup of coffee and a browse through the blogs, so be it.

It’s a game, of course, this pretending that I have a time-treasure hidden away in my pocket like a shiny new dime.  But having time is only the first pleasure of this autumn game.  True joy lies in deciding how it will be spent, and in the spending the lesson learned is simplicity itself: what is true for an hour is true for a day, and as the days add up, they become the sum and substance of our lives.

Rising on any given morning, the chunk of time I see lying at the edge of my life is larger than my little play-hour, but it’s still my time, and my responsibility to determine how it will be spent.  Certain decisions – to be employed, to seek education, to raise children or work within the community – predetermine much of our day’s normal course, but each day there are bits and pieces of time lying about which remain ours and ours alone:  hours waiting to be used for creation, renewal, reflection and relationship. Of course none of us has any “extra” time. But we have all the time there is, and wisely used, that is time and gift enough.

Moving from equinox to solstice, leaving the light and moving into the darkness of the year’s bleak end, we can be tempted into believing that the days themselves are shrinking, that our hours have shriveled and our minutes crumbled.  But in daylight or dark, time still endures, pouring down freely from eternity’s store for us to dispose of as we will.  Our hours may have been reset, but the opportunity to shape our time remains.

The clocks are ticking.

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Published in: on November 3, 2011 at 3:03 am  Comments (73)  
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  1. Although I did not understand or, at least, retain much from the physics classes I took in college, I learned to love the subject when I could read about it because I wanted to, not because I had to.

    One of my favorite topics within the general subject is time. Does it exist at all, or is it — like a yardstick — an arbitrary instrument fashioned by humankind to measure change? Does it progress at a uniform pace, or does it more quickly or more slowly with relation to velocity? (Ah, there, Dr. Einstein.)

    A couple of years ago, I read a book by theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kachu, “The Physics of the Impossible,” in which he examined various phenomena described in science fiction and speculated as to whether each was possible within the parameters of known physical law. One of the topics was time travel. If I remember correctly, he concluded that traveling back in time was not possible, but traveling forward in time — ahead of everyone else, that is — was not only possible but something already experienced by space travelers. Alas, one would have to read Michio’s explanation to understand why.

    Me? I have never worn a watch, hoping to encounter time as though it were an obnoxious relative.

    Anyway, thank you for another thought-provoking and lovely post.

    • Charles,

      Never having taking a physics class, I had to wait for Annie Dillard to introduce me to the work of Heisenberg, et.al. Reading her wonderfully poetic descriptions of time as wave and particle, and her musings on how those two incarnations of the mysterious flow influence our way of seeing the world was an absolute revelation.

      The truth, I suppose, is that time is both arbitrary instrument (chronos) and obnoxious relative unexpectedly showing up at the front door (kairos).

      Early in my blogging career a reader criticized a line I’d written, in which I referred to “a long moment”. Moments, he contended, were neither long nor short – they simply are. Experience and (if I understand him correctly) Einstein would contradict his view of things.

      Speaking of relatives, my great-aunt Ina seems to have anticipated modern physics with a view of time that’s clearly non-static and anthropomophic to boot. One of her favorite sayings was, “Tempus fidgits”.

      Linda

      • “Moments, he contended, were neither long nor short – they simply are. ”

        Compare the moment when you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair, listening to the grinding of the drill, to the moment when you’re in good company, enjoying good conversation and good food.

  2. I like your idea about using your hour when you want it. Reading about your friend reminded me of mine long ago. He used to refuse to even change his clocks. His reasoning? “They will all be on the correct time with the next time change.”

    • pixilated2,

      Your friend was right – his approach clearly is related to the old saying, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day”. Of course, if we’re going to take that approach, we need to be sufficiently alert to make mental adjustments from time to time.

      My own kitchen clock is happily ticking along on standard time, and has been since the last change. It seemed entirely too much trouble to get out the ladder to adjust it last go-around. I suppose the physical gymnastics wouldn’t have been any more trouble than the mental gymnastics I go through, but if I need to keep an appointment, there’s always my cell phone!

      Linda

  3. I like this post. Time has always been fascinating to me. When I was young, days lasted “a long time.” The older I get, they appear ever shorter, as though one day I’ll wake for a few minutes, then sleep forever.

    Maybe due to this, I appreciate the events of when “time slows down” and it seems as if I experience the universe itself! Alas, most of my waking hours are screaming for more time because there’s too much to actually do!

    • Texasjune,

      Isn’t it the truth? Waiting for birthdays or Christmas as a child was painful – it seemed to take “forever” for the great day to arrive. Now? Not so much. Everyone I know is wandering around saying, “What? November? Thanksgiving? Christmas in six weeks? Arrrrggghhh!”

      I must say – your experiences of time slowing down must be more positive than mine. The most significant instance I remember was a car accident. I was rear-ended on a freeway by an idiot police said had to be going 100 mph. The whole experience was like a slow-motion film – I still can remember every minute of it. Well, at least up to the point where I passed out. ;)

      We all share your feeling of there being too much to do for the time available – no doubt about that. It’s one reason I’ve been working at clearing out my time, like an overstuffed closet. No Facebook for me!

      Linda

      • Linda, I know exactly what you are talking about regarding the slow motion phenomena and your auto accident! My Doctor explained to me that at that moment our brain speeds up and takes in every detail, much like the effect of time lapse photography, hence you remember in slow motion sequence. Strange isn’t it? ~ L

        • It is strange, in many ways. When I was going through that slow-motion sequence, my Dad was in the front seat with me, telling me to “steer into the skid”. Saved my life, for sure. Was he there? Not physically, of course. Can I still see him? Yep. Sweet mystery of life, as they say.

  4. I’ve enjoyed reading of your fun use of that elusive hour! Why not enjoy it after all! For myself, I’m pleased to say that I understand the whole concept of “daylight saving” less and less with each passing year. Soon, perhaps, it will disappear.

    • montucky,

      Well, since the politicians and bureaucrats apparently are the ones in charge of all this, I’m not hoping for a quick or rational resolution.

      What I enjoy most about the end to daylight saving time is that it signals the coming of shorter days and longer nights. It makes it harder to get varnish-work done, but I do enjoy the great expanse of evening that stretches in front of me. This year, I hope to dedicate myself to some better use of the dark.

      Linda

  5. “I’ve used my extra hour to repot African violets, read The New Yorker, watch the sunset and brush the cat. I’ve spent my extra hour talking with a friend on the phone and browsing a bookstore. Once, I took a nap.”

    You remind us of the simple things to savor, the gifts a single hour, well-spent, can bring. Tonight I spent such an hour lured by a lovely post about Sibelius, to listen to a concert on BBC3 Radio (it’s still available, through Friday), that included Sibelius’s tone poem Luonnotar, in which the singer, as described by David Nice in his review, was “the nature maiden in Sibelius’s Tardis-like creation myth, holding the silences, stretching her arms beseechingly, finally – and stunningly – blending into the irradiated string-chord benediction as the egg-specks of the Finnish in-the-beginning legend become the stars in the sky.”

    As I listened, I read Nice’s posts about the house where Sibelius lived and was transported there, though I didn’t move from my chair. It was a magical and enriching way to spend an hour.

    • Susan,

      It wasn’t difficult – combining Sibelius, Tardis and BBC in the search box brought up the David Nice review, which really was lovely. From there, I went on to “Finlandia”, which I haven’t listened to in ages. It was one of the first pieces of classical music I was introduced to, and I enjoyed listening again.

      I did have to laugh at my mental toe-stub while reading your comment. When I got to “Tardis”, I was thrown directly into Dr. Who’s universe, with all that entails. But how perfect – particularly since “Tardis” is the acronym for “Time and Relative Dimension in Space”.

      It almost makes me wish I had a police-box-shaped clock to reset this weekend. In lieu of that, I may have to watch an hour’s worth of Dr. Who, just for the pure fun of it all.

      Linda

  6. It is a lovely way to look on it, but somehow I can’t quite cope with the way the clock has become such integrated part of our life that it is almost considered to have a life of its own.

    It’s just a tool for coordination. Human made.

    Though I truly admire you way of considering the hour as a gift and a way to relax, I can’t help but wonder how you look upon it in the spring, when an hour is “taken”.

    • Désirée,

      Oh, I knew someone would bring that up – Springtime, and the “loss” of an hour. Of course that’s not nearly so appealing, so I deal with it accordingly. I ignore it. ;)

      You’re exactly right that the clock is only a tool, and should be the servant, not the master. Still, I think occasional reminders of that fact are useful, and maybe the “time change” is one way we do that for ourselves.

      Your comment’s made me think of a wonderful custom in Liberia. When I lived there, women would show up at the door saying “We’ve come to spend time”. They’d come in, have some cold water, and just sit around and smile. After a bit, they’d say, “We’ve spent time”, and then get up and leave. It was a little unsettling at first, but I’ll say this – clocks didn’t have a thing to do with it!

      Linda

  7. Like you, I savor that extra hour for all it’s worth. In my excitement, I probably “spend” it several times throughout the course of the day!
    And I conveniently forget about that hateful day in the spring when my hour is reclaimed.

    • Becca,

      Well, why not spend it more than once? There’s a sense in which time is a renewable resource – that “ever-flowing stream” that continually fills and empties.

      In the springtime, maybe we should just tell ourselves we haven’t lost that hour at all – we’ve just misplaced it!

      Linda

  8. Wonderful post. Carpe Diem!

    • Nanette,

      Glad you liked the post. I suspect you’ve learned a good bit about seizing the day recently. Just remember, there’s a corollary phrase: “Carpe Chocolate”!

      Linda

  9. As a nine to fiver I usually resent the heck out of standard time. Why do I now have to drive home in the dark? Wahhh!

    But I love your closing paragraph – because the darkness doesn’t have to define how I end my day. There’s no need to jump right into my pajamas & head to bed just because it’s already dark outside.

    P.S. I can’t reach the clock on the wall at work without climbing on a desk. When the time changed in the spring I just wasn’t up to lumbering up there – & my boss never really noticed. It’s been an hour off since March. And I consider that hour a gift. Look – the clock says it’s 3:00, but it’s really 4:00 and an hour closer to heading home :)

    My boss JUST NOW decided to change the clock, but didn’t after I reminded him that it will be correct next week.

    • “Look – the clock says it’s 3:00, but it’s really 4:00 and an hour closer to heading home…”

      You made me smile. Thanks! ~ Lynda

    • Bug,

      Your remark about heading to bed just because it’s dark outside reminded me of the other side of the coin – having to go to bed as a kid while it still was light outside. That always left me a little grumpy, too.

      I will be glad for more light in the morning. But of course, I don’t have to drive home in the dark!

      Love the story about your work clock! I remember a couple of office jobs where that last hour or so could just. seem. like. forEVER. It can be painful – nice that you’ve been able to play your own little time game over the months. Hope the adjustment to “real time” isn’t too hard!

      Linda

  10. Fall back… my favorite time, and my favorite thing to do. Love the idea of pocketing the extra hour, using it for something special; too often around here, it just gets added to the general budget and squandered on something unrecognized and uncelebrated.

    This year, though, we are using the extra time to visit our daughter… and I intend to enjoy every extra minute!

    • anno,

      I love the fall, and I love falling back, too. There always was something magical to me about midwestern autumn – the fallow fields, and the darkness that showed the stars sparkling in a way just not seen in summer.

      As for that extra hour – Annie Dillard gets it right when she says, “Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.” The wise ones among us recognize that intuitively.

      I know spending that extra time with your daughter will be pure delight. I’m so glad you have the opportunity!

      Linda

  11. I’ve never thought of it as you do, Linda. Quite a novel concept, keeping that one hour in your pocket until you need it. Great idea. One can go further I suppose, to think of having 24 of those hours as one wakes to face the day… or 12, not counting sleeping hrs.

    Now, I just wonder what you do with the summer clock adjustment? But then again, I’m sure you’ll have some ingenious approach to it. ;)

    • Arti,

      And of course that’s the point – every hour is a treasure, every hour needs to be spent intentionally. I hate to imagine how many hours I’ve “frittered away” over the course of my life. Now, as my pool of allotted hours shrinks, what I do with those hours seems more important. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for sunset watching, internet surfing or bad-novel reading, it only suggests we need to be aware of our choices.

      As for the summer clock adjustment? “Losing” that hour in the spring? Of course I have an ingenious approach. I ignore it!

      Linda

  12. Very Beautiful post! Every hour should be treasured and embraced. It is also a great reminder for me to set my clock back! We always forget and miss early morning hockey practice….

    PS I finally got around to answering your question :)

    • belle,

      Glad to be of service! We wouldn’t want you to be late for hockey practice! And you’re exactly right – every hour is precious, Of course we’ll waste time, fritter it away – but if we can remember its value, perhaps we’ll do it less often.

      I loved the answer in your post. Who wouldn’t want to be a hawk? I don’t see so many redtails, but the osprey are frequent visitors now. Their call is the most musical in the world.

      Thanks for stopping by – I know how busy you are with NaNoWriMo, so it’s doubly appreciated.

      Linda

  13. Linda,

    Your words about time and making choices inspired more than seemed decent to leave here. But as always, your words worked their magic and I liked reading them.

    We all make our choices in the time we’re allotted. Sounds so simple on paper. But how I do lose focus in making my choices? I always want to pack in more than I can tote. Like a kid in the proverbial candy store, I want this and this and this….

    And as I’ve written elsewhere, I just know I can have it — if not today, then there’s always later. Isn’t there? :)

    Janell

    • Janell,

      Sometimes I wonder if a lot of our time-stress isn’t simply a matter of trying to shove too much into that tote we’re carrying around. Even if we don’t declutter our space, we understand the value of doing so. But somehow we develop a misunderstanding about time – that it’s infinitely expandable and will enlarge to contain everything we want to add. It’s not, and it won’t.

      Ah, focus. How do we lose it, in any regard? Kierkegaard said purity of heart is to will one thing. I adapted that for one of my writing rules – purity of prose is to write one thing. But figuring out the one thing necessary? That’s rather a difficult matter.

      In any event, there is “later”, and more often than we imagine, things we thought we’d lost forever show up in there. It’s a mystery, but a delightful one.

      Linda

  14. I really like that idea of that “extra” hour being your special time, and your last line, “Our hours may have been reset, but the opportunity to shape our time remains”, is just so meaningful.

    By the way, changes to daylight saving before last summer here in Chile caused minor havoc for computer users, when the government decided to introduce it early, in what they said was an attempt to save energy. For Windows users, at least, Microsoft was not prepared for it, but the simple solution was to just change to Buenos Aires time.

    All this reminds me of the joke that was made some decades back in Australia, refering to the southern state of Queensland, and that was that they didn’t want to introduce daylight saving because it would fade the curtains! To be fair to them, though, I must point out that their climate ranges from subtropical to tropical, and that’s why they don’t change the clock in summertime, as they simply don’t want more sunshine in their day.

    I’m sure you must be able to do this in other parts of the world, too, but I’ve just thought of another funny point about daylight saving, and this time it’s not a joke. The coastal city of Tweed Heads, which is right up next to the northern border of my old state, New South Wales, joins up with Coolangatta on the Queensland side. In the centre of town in summertime, you can therefore stand with not just each foot in a different state, but in a different time zone, too.

    And to finish, I don’t know if you know the James Taylor song “The Secret O’ Life”. Your post brought to mind a line from it that goes, “The secret of time is that time isn’t really real”. I’ve just found a live performance of it by him, here:

    Thank you for being the first to comment on my renewed blog,
    Andrew.

    • Andrew,

      I don’t know why that business about Chileans coping with a time change by adopting Argentinian time seems so funny to me, but it does. A bureaucracy gets a “good idea”, and we’re all sliding down the slippery slope with them.

      How did New South Wales and Coolangatta cope with their division? Was it just a matter of folks doing the mental calculations to compensate? Even so, making a lunch date could be a bit of a problem. I suppose we have those situations here, too, but I’ve always lived in the middle of a time zone and not had to cope with such.

      Your mention of the Queensland joke reminds me of a story a friend told on his grandmother. She said daylight saving time was like cutting twelve inches off the top of a blanket and sewing it on the bottom. Precisely.

      I really enjoyed the James Taylor. I haven’t listened to him in some time – he’s one of the best at interpreting these “sweet mysteries of life”. Another who touches me is Enya. It seems a shame to pass by the opportunity to highlight her lovely “Only Time”.

      Linda

  15. I’m awake in the middle of the night. I thought I’d come over for a visit and spend some time with you. I’m glad I did. Our tradition is not creative. We reset most of the clocks before we go to bed on Saturday, but we always forget at least one. A week can pass before we get around to changing it.

    I hope your “saved hour” is enjoyed in the most delightful way this year.

    • Bella,

      I just figured out today that “falling back” is a tad different with a grandmother clock. I can’t run the hands backward, so the only solutions are to run it forward through all the hours, letting it chime every quarter hour, or stopping and restarting it. That’s what I chose – so my beautiful chimes are silent now until tomorrow morning, when I’ll give the pendulum another swing.

      The kitchen clock won’t have to be reset, since I ignored it in the spring and have been running on standard time in the kitchen ever since.

      I’m looking forward to an extra dose of enjoyment and delight this year – I already know what I’m up to. ;)

      Linda

  16. Bravo and simply splendid! I have a tough time springing forward — I need that extra hour of sleep in the morning! But falling back is indeed a gift — to wake more or less at the same time, maybe lounge and snug with a Gyp for a bit, then enjoy a less frenzied morning (I can keep that going a couple of weeks!), maybe putz with an arty thing or check online or tidy up something that I’ve neglected. There’s no shortage of things to do. But I never thought of hoarding the hour to another part of the day. That’s a wonderful idea!

    As for time, I realize every day I have less and less of it. We all do, but it takes hitting a ripe old age and ailments to make it sink in, I think. I seem to have an internal clock — only use the alarm for rare early wake-ups where a flight is involved! I love the kin and ka’int idea and try to follow it, with better results than others at times.

    This post makes me smile. Happy extra hour! I know you’ll do something quite special with it!

    • jeanie,

      I just noticed in your sidebar that you’re into your pre-holiday frenzy, with the craft markets and such. I imagine you’re feeling the need for a few extra hours more than usual – I hope everything went well this weekend and sales were spectacular!

      I have no need for an alarm, either – if I’m not awake by 5:30 or so, Miss Dixie makes sure I get the message. But I do love having more morning light in the winter. It makes it easier to get up and moving.

      Like you, I have a sharpening sense of time’s passage, and of the decreasing number of years left to me. I don’t obsess about it, or even worry about it particularly, but I’m aware of it. As one of my friends said, “When my older relatives died, it was sad. When friends my own age began to depart, it got personal.” I understand that, and I know you do, too.

      But smiles abound – and I’m so glad this made you smile! You’ll smile even more when you find out what I got up to with my hour this year. ;)

      Linda

      • I saw your hour! VERY cool! And yes, been creating like a crazy person — sharing some on the most recent post (Creating with Friends”) and remembering the friends whose generous contributions to my stash make me smile as I work! You, of course, are among them! The show went well, and now on to the next thing. The pace of fall…!

  17. I have always thought moving the clocks back and forth was incredibly silly. If people, businesses, our culture want to get an “extra” hour of daylight at the end of the day during the summer then why not just go to work an hour earlier. Yes, this would require some agreement but the art of agreement is something we obviously need to practice these days.

    I was sitting in a diner the other day waiting for a bowl of soup. Two middle aged ladies were in the booth next to me. I couldn’t help but over hear their conversation. They were expressing the fact that the government had no right to take away an hour of their light. My goodness, what are we coming to!

    • Wild_Bill,

      Love your ladies and their conversation. That kind of misunderstanding has been around for as long as daylight saving time itself – not to mention the theories of the conspiratorialists who are certain something nefarious is going on with the hours the government’s stashed away somewhere!

      As for agreement – my goodness. I never really had looked into the history of daylight saving time until this year. If you want a short but hilarious history of what happens when localities and regions don’t agree on how something should be handled, this ought to give you a chuckle. .

      It seems to me that if we could standardize time zones, we could standardize DST, but of course I’m the one who would like all the elevator buttons in the world to be in the same place. Not much chance of that, either. ;)

      Linda

  18. Linda,

    I love your idea of spending your hour your way. The best part of that tradition is that it primes you to realize that ALL the hours in your life are really yours.

    I’m going to spend my hour in the most appropriate way. My daughter and I are going to see a matinee performance of the movie “In Time”. There should be a 3D version on Sunday where the characters lunge off the screen like zombies, trying to steal all the hours from the audience members!

    Claudia

    • Claudia,

      Somehow I missed hearing about “In Time”, but just read a synopsis and a couple of reviews. Intriguing, for sure. I’ll be interested to know what you think of it.

      What’s even more intriguing is thinking about the premise and asking the question: “Who’s trying to steal my time?” And, “What can I do about it?”

      But when it comes to stealin’ time, no one tells the story better than Gerry Rafferty in his “City to City” album. I love the lines: “Stealin’ time, I’ve been stealin’ time, but I don’t feel guilty, ’cause the time was mine….

      Linda

  19. I love your idea of saving up that extra hour, such a creative approach!

    I don’t wear a watch, and I find that liberating, (except maybe for when I need to get to a meeting , but then there are always clocks around to look at when you need…)

    • Juliet,

      I’ve not worn a watch for years, either. You’re right – timepieces of various sorts are so ubiquitous you always can check the hour. If I need to know the time FOR CERTAIN, I just flip open my cell phone.

      As for saving up my hour – if we can’t play with time and space, what good are they? ;)

      Linda

  20. From “kin to cain’t” – yes. Perfect. I’m there. It’s “how I roll.” Typically. Except on Saturdays.

    And choosing how to spend that hour? Excellent – and that’s exactly how I’ll handle it. I have just finished filling a journal. I will use that hour to choose the next one, to find which empty book on the shelf calls to me, then do some writing and will spend some time fooling with my camera AND will love every second of it cuz I won’t feel it’s time “on the clock” that should be spent with laundry or the vacuum.

    It’s funny how talking with a friend, listening to (or reading) a friend can just open a door, one that was there all along and for whatever reason, you just didn’t open it. Though I’ve plans now for that hour, I need not hurry. Keeping it “in my pocket” as you say, for awhile.

    • oh,

      Silly thought, perhaps, but I just remembered the perfect little Advent calendar you shared with us. Isn’t that a part of it, too? Advent as a season extends time, pulls it out like taffy, shapes both our anticipation and excitement as we move through the days. Just like the time change, Advent makes us more aware of time, deepens our experience of it. At least, it does for me.

      And I’m thinking about all those little doors in the calendars – they’re so much like the doors our friends, or books, or journals open in us. There’s just no telling what surprises we’ll find!

      Isn’t it funny, how we think of “productive time” being filled with vacuums or meetings or paperwork, while there’s a tendency to think of staring out a window, or watching birds, or scribbling in the margins of a notebook as “wasting time”? The more that changes, the better off we’ll all be.

      Linda

  21. Linda,
    I loved this story but I love all your stories! We discussed this last year on the blogs or maybe before that. I do the same thing you do!

    In the spring I feel I am “robbed” of my extra hour sleep so in the fall, I keep my “extra” hour for myself.
    I do not set our clocks back for a day or two because I enjoy knowing when I look at the clocks it is really an hour earlier and I have plenty of time to meet my “mandatory” obligations. But when we go back to work we must get in line with reality once again. And the thrill of the “extra hour” fades away for another year.

    I don’t know if I want to “stay” on daylight savings time all year round or stay on standard time all year round… but as I get older I think we should choose one and stick with it.

    I really enjoyed your story!
    Patti

    • Patti,

      I agree with you completely about the foolishness of all this changing and rearranging of time – or clocks, to be more accurate about what’s really going on. Still, as long as we have to do it, I think we might as well have some fun with it – and nothing’s more fun than a little extra time.

      I do get a kick of seeing how the computers and other devices reset themselves “automatically”. I know there are coders behind all that, but it still is a little like magic to me. On my old computer, I used to get a polite little note alerting me to the fact that the time had been changed, and reminding me to reset my other clocks. I don’t get that anymore – I rather miss it!

      I know you’ll be making good use of your time today – enjoy it!

      Linda

  22. One aunt just did not bother to change the clock. She lived all her life on a farm where it does not really matter what the clock says anyway.
    For those of us who did change clocks it was a bit confusing.

    I’m going to give some thought to what I can do with a whole extra hour tomorrow.

    That was the other tape the nurses liked: Enya.That and the WaterBoys took us though many a mile on the Gbarnga Road

    • Ken,

      I was thinking last night about the number of phrases that have come into our language because of “clock time” – “on (or off) the clock”, “clocking in (or out)”, “clock-watching” and so on. And then we have time idioms – “the time of our lives”, “spending time”, “time on our hands”. The expressions are quite different in tone, and suggest a real difference between living by the clock and living in time. No question where your aunt came down on the issue!

      I’d not heard of The Waterboys. Of course I had a listen, and especially liked This is the Sea. A beautiful video, too. Thanks for the introduction.

      Linda

      • I guess my favourite Waterboys is: “Strange Boat”.We were riding in borrowed UN vehicles and old shot up cars from MSF Belgium at first. Once we got our vehicles through the UN embargo I was off and runnin’ till the Nurses tried to bring me to heel. Well: the whole point of the project was Construction and the budget was in my zone. ‘Course I was a bit “lagged” for most of my time there so I’m looking at this with 20/20 hindsight

  23. That’s quite a liberal theory you present here, or is that actually more of a republican view as the rest of the world has no say in your use of your hour. I think I would say it’s a creative more than anything.

    I have always been one of the people who didn’t adjust my clock but always remembered I had to keep an hour ahead of time during the the cold seasons. Now a days though most devices I use to synchronize meetings adjust automatically so it’s I don’t put much thought into it except that it seems kind of pointless to me.

    But anything mankind can do to make them feel better isn’t for me to say it’s wrong or right as long as it’s not hurting others I am a good sport about it. If the whole world wants to borrow an hour during the winter I am not the banking authority that has the final say, but I can say that I’d bet they charge an interest when it’s time to pay it back in the spring just like any borrowing these days.

    Although it seems that few people recognize the cost of free hours nor do they understand the full significance of setting the clocks forward in the spring. It’s too bad that the current interest rate per minute of time isn’t listed on the paper along with all the other fluctuating rates. Because then one could simply multiply times sixty to calculate what they pay with their Nile Card in the spring.

    • who,

      Well, I must say I never expected liberal and republican to end up in the midst of this discussion. Despite what some folks contend, I don’t think everything in the world is political.

      But you’re right about one thing – if people find creative ways to deal with these annoying/amusing realities of life, all the better.

      As far as interest goes, I’d be happy if people just found things to do with their “extra” hour that interest them!

      Thanks for stopping by, and for the kindness of a comment.

      Linda

  24. I always like your posts but this one is really thought provoking. I’d never thought of saving that hour! What a brilliant idea to give ourselves a gift of a whole hour!

    What do I do with that hour? Nothing. Nada. I work on Sundays and have always used that hour to sleep in. Anyone who works on Sundays will agree that it’s a heck of a treat to sleep in on a working day, but I’ve thrown away my gift every year.

    I’ve always scurried around changing the clocks at bedtime on the Saturday night before the fall back. I’m getting ready to go to bed now but I’m not going to touch the clocks. I’m going to get up at my regular time, and as I’ve already read this week’s New Yorker, and don’t have a cat to brush, or African violets to repot, I think I’ll use the time reading the Sunday papers. With a leisurely coffee.
    [I'd better not get too cozy or I'll be late for work :-) ]

    • dearrosie,

      The Sunday papers and a leisurely coffee sounds perfect! I think you might be enjoying that right now – or very shortly.

      For years I did the same as you – going on clock patrol the night before, making sure I had done just as I’d been told by the People in Charge of Time. Eventually, I figured out that I could choose when to reset the clocks – even though the first year I felt as though I committed a misdemeanor (on the level of tearing off mattress tags).

      Now, my biggest problem is making myself pay attention to the clocks for a few days. Some people synch their electronic devices – I have to synch up the sunlight and the clocks!

      Enjoy your day at work. My pleasure tomorrow is another museum trip, this time to see Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs.. I need to be on time for that!

      Linda

      • Linda,
        I hang my head in shame – I slept in. It wasn’t my fault. I had full intentions of NOT CHECKING my blog and reading the papers in my comfy chair .. sigh… it’s all because of the weather and Stieg Larsson. Firstly it’s a dark rainy morning over here on the west coast (Rain! we havent had rain since last year!) and last night was so chilly that I had a delicious hot bath at bedtime, and because I knew I had an extra hour in the morning I couldn’t stop reading my book the second one in “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo” series… so I guess I used up my hour last night before we were even given it…

        I look forward to hearing what you do with it. Perhaps tea with King Tut? Oh lucky you! I looked at the link -I didn’t know he was touring the States again. (We saw him in 1977) I look forward to hearing about it…

        oh lord look at the time. I’m going to be late for work… sheesh there’s my nice relaxing hour…poof gone

        • Fiddlesticks – no reason for shame! Who’s to say that a lovely lie-in isn’t exactly the way to make use of that extra hour? If we ever have a dark, rainy morning again, I might do exactly the same thing – time change or not!

          One thing’s for sure – your reaction to the Stieg Larson book is the same as what I’ve been hearing from others – the books are hard to put down.

          I’ve made use of my hour already, but I’ve not quite figured out how to write about it – as soon as I do that, you’ll know what I did!

          Linda

  25. Ahoy, Shore. Your creative form of time management is noteworthy. Does your scheme provide a method for accumulating an extra hour during the spring to give back on the second Sunday of March? Or do you pay the tax in a lump sum, then spend the next several days in arrears?

    The story about your friend, who sets an alarm so she can change all her clocks “on time”, makes me laugh. My alarm clock sets itself using WWVB radio, which is broadcast from Colorado by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. All I have to do is change its batteries every couple of years.

    When I was a kid my state did not do Daylight Time. It was Standard Time all the time. I miss that. Given a choice, I would pick the Daylight scheme, with sunshine saved for the end of the day. But I wish we would pick one time zone and stick with it. All this flipping back and forth is annoying.

    • Bogon,

      Shoot. I don’t worry about the spring. The only thing that annoys me initially is that I have to work an hour later into the day, but I adjust to that eventually.

      Re: my friend – amazing the little quirks and idiosyncracies people have. She does seem to understand the Time Police won’t show up and arrest her if she doesn’t do it “just right”, but she can’t help herself. It’s harmless enough – but she’s had to come to terms with the fact that she’s not persuading any of her friends.

      Me? I can’t get over the fact that you have an alarm clock that sets itself, let alone with such precision. No need for that around this place – although I am having to train myself to be a little more attentive to the grandmother clock. I managed to wind it before the weights hit bottom this time.

      Like you, I’d prefer no more flipping around from daylight to standard. Since that’s not very likely, we might as well have a little fun with it all!

      Linda

      • I don’t think you have to worry about springing forward. Spring is its own reward. The season provides enough jazz and rejuvenation to recover quickly from an hour’s lost sleep.

        As for my wondrous Atomic Clock, somebody gave it to me. I can recommend it, though, if you’re considering the purchase of a new clock. There are different designs. My cousin has a radio-controlled clock that hangs on the wall of his workshop. We discussed it recently, trying to figure out how long it would take a radio signal to get to Greensboro from Fort Collins. We came up with about 7.5 milliseconds, which is pretty close in my book, even if the clock makes no attempt to correct for this latency.

        More and more I tell time by devices that set themselves. My computer regularly queries a Network Time Protocol server over the internet. The set-top boxes that tune my television get their time hack via the cable.

        There is much to be said for old-fashioned mechanical clocks. They offer history and character, and, for those of us who grew up with them, a sentimental attachment. They work when the power goes off, no wires or batteries required. In his retirement my Dad gathered a clock collection. When I visited his house, all the ticking and bonging used to drive me crazy!

  26. It is luscious to treat the extra hour as you tell us. I will think of your way now, when this time next year rolls around.

    • C.C.,

      When next year comes and you think of your “extra” hour, I hope you find something wonderful to do with it!

      So nice to have you stop by. You know you’re welcome anytime!

      Linda

  27. Absolutely brilliant, Linda. I wish you were a columnist! Well, I guess you are…a blog columnist.

    And once again I see we’re on the same page about the music that moves us. Enya’s Only Time is playing in the background as I write this, thanks to you.

    • Ginnie,

      Sure I’m a blog columnist – which has a few advantages. For me, a little more flexibiity with deadlines. And for you, the chance to read what I have to say, which wouldn’t be possible if I were being printed in the LittleBittyBurgUSA Daily Times!

      I’m not surprised to hear you like Enya. Her “Orinoco Flow” still is my favorite, but “Only Time” is a close second.

      I found a wonderful way to use my “extra hour” on Sunday – you’ll hear about that as soon as I meet my squishy deadline for a new post!

      Linda

  28. Hello Linda, so nice to read your post about time. Not the time we run after too often but the extra time you can keep for yourself whenever you feel like it. This precious hour that we just enjoyed recently.

    For having also lived in Africa for a while, I have learned that Time has a whole different meaning over there. Especially time for sharing with friends, in any circumstances. Time in Africa is flexible, “élastique”, as we say. Once you get used to, it is just so pleasant. Unexpected moments of added time that strangely seem to fit in a planned schedule. Well, not always but mostly because you adapt yourself.

    I loved your idea of keeping this extra hour for a special moment you will decide on. Truly inspiring. Something to look forward to. Thank you for your thoughts and words.

    • Isa,

      I just was thinking – “scraps of time”, “swatches of time”. Your particular realm of creativity holds so many metaphors using time. And isn’t it true – the quilts we make are ways of collecting time, preserving it. Even now, looking at the Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt my mother stitched, I see in one place her favorite sundress, in another my father’s summer shirt.

      Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take our scraps of time itself and patch them together? I wonder what they’d look like?

      Certainly that “élastique” quality of time allows for much more creativity and enjoyment. It’s a commonplace here to say that “work expands to fill the time allotted for it”, but there certainly are times when time itself expands to allow for vie un peu plus!

      Linda

  29. “…set her clocks back one hour at 2 a.m.”

    I’ve heard there were people who did that. For me, I like to think of it as “the long weekend”, and do the deed the night before.

    However, I’m not without foible. I found that my watch gets more out-of-time when I try to set it, so I now have 2 watches. Neither of them are off more than a minute a year (much like all watches nowadays).

    “… time still endures ..”

    I’d say you’ve got the hang of this writing thing.

    Time flows the same for everyone; life is what you fill that time with.

    • lector constans,

      What a delight – the “two-watch solution” for the always frustrating issue of dealing with tiny knobs and gizmos when the time change comes around. I no longer wear a watch, so it’s not an issue for me, but I appreciate the elegance of the solution and intend to suggest it to an older friend with arthritic fingers.

      I do love the flow of time. I suppose that’s the reason New Year’s eve and day always have been special to me. Thanks for your kind words, and for taking some of your time to comment here. You’re always welcome to stop by.

      Linda

  30. Genius! Absolute, entertaining, thought-provoking genius!

    • Bayou Woman,

      I’m just howling with laughter. Just remember – one woman’s genuis is someone else’s stark, raving idiot!

      I try to keep that in mind. :-)

      Linda

      • Some say the dividing line between genius and insanity is thin and tenuous. It might even be like a clock face, with “normal” at 12, genius tending toward 3, and insanity tending toward 9 – both meeting at 6.

        To paraphrase an old saying, “[talent does what it can], genius does what it must” – insanity does what it mustn’t.

        • Wonderful quotation – and addendum. Many thanks!

  31. “I work by the sun, not the clock.” We’ve been lashed to the clock for years, yet there’s something about your declaration that feels right. I recently asked someone if he were hungry and he said, “I don’t know. What time is it?” I sank a little with that, but just for one of your long moments.

    • bronxboy,

      What an amazing response. I do remember growing up with variants of the “Is it time to eat?” question. Still – that someone could be so out of touch with his basic appetites that he thinks first of the clock and not of his stomach when a meal’s involved is….
      remarkable.

      I love your image of being lashed to the clock. I’m imagining Father Time as Snidely Whiplash, with clock hands substituting for the railroad tracks.

      Linda


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