This Hour, and That One

Sunset on the prairie

After lying dormant for months, the familiar complaint rises again, grumbling across the land as the days shorten and nights grow cold. Repetitive and predictable as the season, the end of daylight saving time and the need to reset clocks surprises some, but irritates others: primarily those who care not a whit which official time prevails, but wish for an end to the continual changing of clocks.

Most consider ‘falling back’ or ‘springing forward’ nothing more than a relic of the past, like barn-raisings and butter churns. Over the years, the practice has been justified as a means of saving energy, protecting school children, and ending our nation-wide vitamin D deficiency, but definitive answers to those and other questions are no more possible than enlightening people who truly believe that we’re going to lose an hour of daylight when the clocks are changed.

Since I work by the sun and not by the clock, the lack of answers doesn’t bother me. Like my grandparents, I work from ‘kin to cain’t’ — from the hour the first bird takes flight into the dawn until the last light fades against the hills. Gauging the hour by the slant of the sun, I pace myself accordingly.

Still, living in the midst of a clock and calendar world, I need to take that world’s realities into account, including this weekend’s transition to ‘standard’ time.

At every time change, I remember a friend who took the mandate to change her clocks at a specified time so literally she would set an alarm. If the authorities said it should be done at 2 a.m., then 2 a.m. it would be. She had no desire to miss meeting her civic obligation.

She did it that way for years, and for years I gave her a hard time about it. She wouldn’t be swayed; she truly believed that, if only everyone in the country would set their clocks in the middle of the night as the experts advise, the world would be a better place.

In all the time I knew her, I never dared confess my approach to the end of daylight saving time. Not only do I avoid changing clocks in the middle of the night, I don’t bother resetting them before I go to bed, and I don’t adjust them while making coffee in the morning.

Instead, I consider the hour we ‘gain’ as we ‘fall back’ to be a gift from a minor god: a little chunk of time left lying at the edge of my life, waiting to be disposed of as I please.

Every autumn, I save my hour of reclaimed time until I need it, or find a frivolous use for it. While others busy themselves resetting clocks, I watch from the sidelines with a smile on my face, secure in the knowledge of the secret hour tucked into my pocket. Eventually I make use of that hour, but only then do I reset my clocks, putting myself more or less back in synch with the rest of the world.

Sunrise on Matagorda Island

Years ago, when different work meant different expectations, it wasn’t so easy; I had to make an effort to be on the same schedule as co-workers. Even now, there are practical limits to how long I can keep my extra hour; it isn’t feasible to keep it for Christmas shopping in December, or an especially pleasant February afternoon when a trip to the prairie becomes nearly irresistible.

Still, the ability to choose a use for that extra hour can become a delightful exercise.

Imagine, for example, that you’ve spent an afternoon doing paperwork, or laundry. At five o’clock, you decide you’ve had enough. You pull out your extra hour, declare it four o’clock, and sit back to relax with a book.

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 hour and slow down, secure in the knowlege that you’ll arrive home for supper with time to spare.

Over the 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 it talking with a friend, and browsing a bookstore. Once, I took a nap. I’ve used the time early, and I’ve used the time late. What never varies is using 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 or sweeping the patio, 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 it’s a game that provides multiple pleasures, and having the time tucked away is only the beginning. Deciding how that hour will be spent is the point. As Annie Dillard reminds us in her book, The Writing Life:

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.

Each year, in the deciding and in the spending, I re-learn Dillard’s lesson: what is true for an hour is true for a day, and as those days add up, they become the sum and substance of our lives.

On any given morning, the time spread out before me as I rise looms larger than any play-hour, but it’s no less my time, and my responsibility to determine how it will be spent. Decisions already made — to be employed, to seek education, to raise children, to work within the community — necessarily predetermine much of our day’s course, but bits and pieces of time  remain ours alone: hours waiting to be used for creation, renewal, reflection, and relationship.

Despite our plaintive cry — I wish I had more time! — we have all the time there is. “There is no shortage of good days,” Dillard continues. “It is good lives that are hard to come by. A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample, and its passage sweet.”

Sunset on the bayou

As we move from equinox to solstice, leaving the summer’s light and moving again into the darkness of the year’s bleak end, it can be easy to believe that the days themselves are shrinking: that our hours have shriveled, our minutes crumbled. But time is ample, enduring in daylight or dark; pouring into our lives from eternity’s store; waiting to be disposed of as we will.

Of course, time’s flow can be neither stopped nor reversed. In the words of Tennessee Williams:

[Time] is slipping away while I write this, and while you read it, and the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, Loss, Loss — unless you devote your heart to its opposition.


Comments always are welcome.

123 thoughts on “This Hour, and That One

    1. You’re welcome to it, Laurie. I’ve neither patented nor copyrighted the idea — I’m just the only one I know who was crazy enough to come up with it. I’ve sure had fun with it over the years.

  1. I think I just took my hour, having turned back the clocks before bed and then realized it was only 11:00 pm. Heh, heh. Get on to the WordPress reader…This was a lovely musing on time and how we use it and think of it and exist in it–time the avenger and time the gift. I used to know someone who would respond to complaints about time with “Everybody’s got 24 hours.” I couldn’t risk not setting the clocks, as I’d be calculating all the time, then slipping up and getting somewhere early (or late in the spring, and I’m already prone to lateness…

    1. The idea that everyone has 24 hours is akin to what I like to say: all of us have all the time there is. The only question is, what will we do with it? I very much like your description of time as avenger and gift; it truly is the proverbial double-edged sword.

      I once had a wall clock that was a true pain to get to in order to reset it. That one I left alone, and if I happened to glance at it, I just did the necessary calculation. It wasn’t much of a bother, and it was off by an hour only half the year or so.

  2. I set the clocks back just after midnight, but all 3 clocks say something different! They always do — that’s my little rebellion against time and those who much too stringently live by it.

    1. We all have our little rebellions, and yours isn’t the worst in the world. Apart from my computer and phone clocks, each of my other clocks always says a different time. So far, I haven’t noticed that it makes one bit of difference!

  3. My extra hour, I suppose, has been taken this evening, as I stayed up late reading on the computer. But I probably will wake up at the same real time I always do, which will be earlier by the clock, and if that happens, I will probably read in bed. The way we spend our days…

    Unfortunately, my hour does not hold the same value wherever I choose to spend it. Maybe it’s like a dollar that buys you less in some stores than others. If I use it at night, as I have just done, I’ve lost a real hour of sleep, which does not magically appear at the other end of the nighttime. It’s complicated.

    But – I LOVE the second part of Dillard’s quote, “Time is ample, and its passage sweet.” Even if I’m using it to catch up on my sleep!

    Thank you, Linda. This is the cheerfullest article on the subject ever.

    1. The good news is that while the politicians and bureaucrats mess with our clocks — the chronos by which we arrange our lives — they can’t touch our kairos: that ample, sweet time in which we live, and move, and have our being. In truth, that’s where my cheerfulness on the matter of time is grounded: when the kairos is right, the hour doesn’t matter.

      I will admit that the autumn change affects me more than the change in spring — I’m ready for sleep now! And spare a thought for people with pets. Dixie Rose always took two or three weeks to adjust, which meant yowling for breakfast at 4 a.m. Nothing’s more persistent than a hungry kitty.

  4. I am probably the exact opposite of you; I have no reason to go outside, so I don’t. I suppose it comes from working nights and working from home for nearly 30 years. Now that I’m retired, I feel I have escaped the tyranny of the clock. I go to bed when I’m tired, and get up when I’m done sleeping, and eat when I’m hungry. I also fall firmly into the camp that says just choose either DST, or regular time, one or the other, and stop fooling with the cotton-picking clocks!

    1. I’m absolutely on the side of those who say, “So set the clocks, already — and then let them be.” The legislature’s been arguing the issue for years. What I didn’t realize is that time zones have played a role in the arguments: “Because Texas has two time zones, bills often fail because lawmakers can’t decide on what to replace as the state’s “Texas time.” Maybe they should just adopt Tulsa time and stop worrying about it.

  5. It is a mere humans contrivance, this fiddling with the clocks, and nature cares not one whit about such things. I have friends who leave their clocks permanently on standard time, referring to it as”bird time”. I tried it for a year or two, but missed a couple of appointments by not making the mental shift, so I reverted to changing all the timepieces. But staying on one system or the other would make sense to me.

    1. I can think of only one ‘advantage’ of constantly changing back and forth; it allows legislators to pontificate on a subject that’s considered relatively safe. In Texas, the arguments are complicated by the fact that the state’s in two time zones, so there would be two choices to be made.

      As you say, nature’s unconcerned with it all. The world wakes and sleeps as it will, and the great migrations begin and end on their own timetable. As far as I know, there’s not a bird who consults a clock.

  6. Wonderful musing on the worldwide tampering with clocks. This year, for the first time, I speculated about not changing them, but doing the necessary mental arithmetic for keeping in sync with others. We didn’t do it, though. Excellent photographs as always

    1. I know someone who decided not to make the change this year. Her theory was that the constant need for mental calculation would help keep her mind sharp, rather like crossword puzzles. She’s no longer formally employed, so it could work for her. It will be interesting to see if she sticks with it.

      I’m glad the photos pleased you. I’ve neglected sunrise and (particularly) sunset photos since moving to my new place. This year, I’m going to do what I resolved to do when I moved: find some new spots for that sort of photo.

  7. Beautifully written post, and much like you ~ the time shown on the clock has little influence on how I live. Wonderful photos, and it is funny but I too, while knowing this extra hour is not real, like to pretend I found a great gift in time.

    1. It’s interesting how often we seem to consider time a burden rather than a gift. If nothing else, the semi-annual time change does provide an opportunity to consider all of our hours, and perhaps recommit to making better use of them. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Now, there’s nothing left but adjusting to the change!

  8. Enjoyed it! Verse of scripture came to mind in the middle of it…”It is vain that you rise up early and go late to bed eating the bread of anxious toil, for the Lord gives to his beloved sleep (or he gives to his beloved even while he rests). I’d not heard that little ditty before: I work from ‘kin to cain’t’ . That cain’t for me comes earlier and earlier the older I get. Take care Linda. DM

    1. I’ve always smiled at that verse. There’s a lot of “bread of anxious toil” being consumed these days, and a good bit of it isn’t necessary. As for ‘cain’t’ coming earlier every year, I suppose it’s inevitable. You in your orchards and construction sites, and me at my boats, just feel it more sharply than those who live their lives by the clock in an office; learning to accept and adjust to the changes is the better part of wisdom.

  9. I love the idea of holding on to that precious hour until you wish to use it for something. For me, the extra hour in bed and feeling rested and perkier than usual the next morning was worth it. But my cats haven’t changed their ‘clocks’ and are expecting their mealtimes an hour earlier than I am ready to feed them. That results in a lot of feline nagging!

    1. That made me laugh, Ann. When my cat still was with me, that nagging could assume nearly mythic proportions. She’d adjust to the change eventually, but ‘eventually’ could be as much as two or three weeks, and the period of adjustment was a struggle for both of us. That said, I wish she still was here to nag!

      1. My Strathy is doing his best to achieve mythic proportions! (His sister is very quiet though, she just looks at me until I go and find her some food!)

  10. Around here, time is elastic.

    For instance, 6:00 am first appears in the kitchen with the microwave, where it lingers for a solid five minutes before leaping to the wall clock in the dining room. From there it rushes into the bedroom, tripping over my shoes and spilling the glass of water my wife keeps by the bed. After raising that ruckus, it slips into our phones and updates the digits in the pickup sleeping in the driveway.

    Only then does it remind the cats that their dish requires a handful of chow, like NOW!

    1. Every cat owner in the world eventually gets around to that food bowl when discussing this time change. I wonder if dogs exhibit the same behavior. It makes sense that they would, but apparently dogs don’t nag as much as cats.

      My car’s so old I have to update the clock manually. It took only two two years for me to figure out how to do it. I could have read the instruction manual, of course, but what fun would that be? Besides, every time I’d look at the car clock, it would be a chance to remember this. Of course, the inevitable answer to the question, “Does anyone really know what time it is” has to be, “Does anyone really care?”

    1. They sure do. It took me a while to understand that the length of daylight is as important (or more important) than temperature for many plants. I found an Indian paintbrush this weekend; even though it’s significantly “out of season,” plenty of rain and beautifully sunny days probably encouraged it. Basal leaves of plants like bluebonnets and lyreleaf sage are growing enthusiastically, too.

  11. I wish we’d stay on standard time, like parts of Arizona do, and like everyone did (at least since the time that railroads caused the world to get split up into time zones). You’ve reminded me again of Austin Dobson’s poem “The Paradox of Time.”

    Dillard’s lesson—what is true for an hour is true for a day—doesn’t apply to everything. Taking a medicine once an hour may kill you, whereas taking it once a day as prescribed is presumably beneficial. I’ve occasionally spent an hour in one spot taking pictures; I’d never sit there for a whole day, or even for the “day” defined by sunshine, like the one in which you work.

    I like your first picture. Were the plants sunflowers?

    1. I didn’t remember Dobson’s poem. I smiled at his line about the ‘silver age.’ I recently had to renew my driver’s license, after seven years. No wonder the woman at the voting location did a double take when she looked at my old license, and then at me. At least my eyes are the same color.

      My sense is that Dillard’s meaning has less to do with specific activities than with our attitudes. Hours that are marked by attentiveness, thoughtfulness, and receptivity will be more satisfying that a mindless passage through the days, whether we’re meeting obligations or indulging in pleasures.

      I don’t think the seed heads in the first photo belonged to sunflowers, but I’m not sure what they were. I’m certain they belonged to the Asteraceae, though. I took the photo in Chase County, Kansas, near the Tallgrass prairie.

  12. You are such a lyrical writer that I enjoy reading whatever you write about. In this case you’re the only person I’ve ever known who uses the ‘extra hour’ in a special way. That’s a nice tradition.

    I live in a state that has a lot of recreational businesses that fight to keep daylight savings time as is….golf courses, the fishing and boating industries, outdoor parks and race ways. That extra hour of daylight after traditional work hours makes a huge difference in their bottom line. That said, I hate the fall change and really look forward to the spring change.

    1. Another word for ‘special’ is ‘quirky’ — or perhaps just plain weird. Still, keeping that hour’s a harmless diversion, and it does provide a reminder to pay attention to what I’m doing with the time allotted to me.

      I can understand the importance of extended daylight for the businesses you mention. Although what the clock says means very little to me, I will be glad when we come to the winter solstice, and the hours of daylight begin increasing again. Winter’s the lean season for outdoor workers who are limited when it comes to productive hours. If it’s a dewy morning, or the evening dew begins to fall at three o’clock in the afternoon, my work day may be only four hours — not so good for the bottom line.

  13. I was wondering just last evening where my bank of saved daylight went each fall. I never seem to find that I have an overabundance of it saved for that proverbial rainy day. I am one of those who questions whether there ever was a sensible reason for the move. Taking an hour of daylight from the morning and moving it to evenings doesn’t change the daylight hours in the day… it just makes the early bird catch that worm in the dark.

    But that being said… thanks for the morning Dillard…”The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample, and its passage sweet.” I needed that this brite and sunny standard time morning.

    1. I’m always amused by people who come unstrung by the thought that they’re being denied an hour of daylight. And I was surprised to learn recently that one of the hangups in the legislature when it comes to going ‘all standard’ or ‘all daylight’ is which time zone to choose. I tend to forget that the western part of the state isn’t in the central time zone, and apparently they don’t want to be.

  14. I never have strong thoughts about the artificial time changes, but I do very much connect with your and Annie Dillard’s thoughts about time itself. It’s all sort of fungible to me, but I’m afraid I may have to waste my extra hour today on an oil change! Ugh.

    1. That’s no waste. Not changing the oil might lead to more significant — and even more frustrating – waste! I do tend to fritter away more time than I should, but on the other hand, wandering, daydreaming, pondering, and just sitting aren’t necessarily a waste. Our society may consider them so, but the group always thinks it knows better than the individual.

  15. In Canada, there is one province that is not following the eternal change-over for daylight savings time to standard time. I agree with many others that this practice is a relic of the past and goes back to the need for conserving energy during World War 2. As for us as retired people, my wife and I enjoy the extra hour to sleep in and like you enjoy giving us the extra hour when it suits us. Best wishes! Peter

    1. At least in your country’s case, it’s an entire province that goes its own way. If I remember correctly, there are some cities and counties here in the U.S. that choose not to go along with everyone else — confusing, at best!

      I’ve sometimes thought all the quibbling over time changes is just a way for politicians to appear to be doing something important — while the rest of us sigh, and make our accomodations as best we can. Having an extra hour of sleep isn’t the worst way of adjusting!

  16. A beautiful meditation on time and the best use of that extra hour I’ve heard. I’ve been off the class and session clock for years but still catch myself thinking that I need to keep a schedule. More and more I’m able to remind myself that no one but me cares and there’s no reason I should.

    I’m beginning to resent even events I enjoy if they have a set time, such as golf tee times or breakfast with friends, just because I wonder if meeting an imposed schedule is worth the intrusion into the rhythm of my day. Realizing the truth of what Dillard says about how we spend our hours is how we spend our lives makes the freedom of every moment precious.

    But I have 2 questions. First, how do you handle the hour the clock mavens claim we lose in the spring? I need a creative solution for that. And second, I have a cat who insists that I ignore the time changes in both spring and fall and give him his morning treat according to his biological clock. He is very persuasive. Is he the wisest of us all?

    1. On the other hand, Dillard goes on in the same paragraph to say a bit about schedules. I nearly included those words in this post, and then decided they weren’t necessary for the point I was making. Still, I appreciate her perspective:

      “A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living.”

      She was talking about writing (the selection’s from her book The Writing Life), but I think her point could apply to almost anything: reading, or photography, or walking. Personally, I’ve learned better than to go down the “Every day, I’m going to do thus-and-so at 6 a.m.” road, but chaos and whim are out there, so even sort-of-scheduling can be worthwhile.

      When it comes to the loss of the hour that springing forward entails, I confess that I ignore it. Since time is more metaphor than mathematics, there’s no need to balance things out; it’s enough that the spring change signals the coming of longer days, and a chance to do outdoor things before or after work.

      As for the cats, everyone I know has the same experience. Telling a cat it’s too early for breakfast is an exercise in futility. They know, and they’re determined that we should know, too.

      1. Many factors contributed to my leaving the corporate world last year and building myself a new one. One was a snippet I came across reading that, for all of the cliches I’ve read so far, stuck out to me more. It illustrated that however you were spending your day you were literally trading one day of your finite life to do that thing.

  17. Time, like the ocean, comes and goes lazily lapping at the shore or crazily attacking it. Saving it is a fruitless endeavor but I admire you for trying. And of course your writing and photography are beautiful.

    1. To take your metaphor a step farther, time’s like an ocean we swim in. Generally speaking, it’s just “there” — until something makes us stop, and experience it differently. Maybe clock-changing’s like stepping on a rock along the shore, or suddenly stepping into a hole we didn’t realize was in front of us. The ocean hasn’t changed, but our experience of it has!

  18. Linda, thank you for an interesting take on a surprisingly controversial subject. I used to have an editor who, after each time change, would look us all in the eye and demand, “So what time is it really?” We always laughed, but nobody could give him a good answer, probably because the thing is so puzzling.

    Sure, I understand why we started changing our clocks, but some of those reasons no longer apply. And even the “forced” changing of smoke alarm batteries is soon to become a thing of the past, with the new detectors arriving with 10-year batteries. Still, I suppose it’s a good thing for us to focus on for a day or so — takes the onus off other controversies like the pandemic and the election, ha! Beautiful photos here, my friend.

    1. If your editor asked, “Does anyone really know what time it is?” you could have answered with the words of the old Chicago song: “Does anyone really care?” That might not have gone over so well, depending — but it would have been funny.

      I’d not thought about it, but I didn’t hear the usual public service announcements about battery-changing this fall. Perhaps that’s the answer: the newer batteries don’t make it as important. I’d think it still would be a good idea to check them, but that’s just me. I still have this deep-seated conviction that motor oil needs to be changed every 3,000 miles. My mechanic just laughs, and shakes his head.

      Thanks for the kind words about the photos, too. I really like each of them; I’ll be glad when the kind of travel they represent is possible again.

  19. A perfect treatise for this day, Linda. I must say your photos are spectacular. I took a number of them while living in Port A. What fascinated me was the shadow of our world contrasted to the bright orange of God’s. This was time well spent and I only used a quarter of my saved hour and got the change in my pocket. Thanks.

    1. See there? A veritable blog-bargain! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I’m especially glad the photo from Matagorda brought back some good Port A memories. There’s no place like the coast for gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, although some of those areas are developing so quickly there’s not going to be much to see but the sun glinting off condos. Still, it’s good to see recovery going on; it’s a shame that so many — charter captains and so on — are suffering under the double blows of storms and the pandemic.

  20. Well, this was a real treat to read! Your friend getting up to change the clocks had my eyes bulging and you had me smiling re your secret hour of reclaimed time and how you use it. What a brilliant engaging piece of writing. You should have this published!xxx

    1. Thanks, Dina. I’m glad you enjoyed it. My friend had a lot of quirks, and her clock routine was only one. Of course, I have my quirks, too — we managed to put up with one another for a good number of years despite our oddities!

    1. Time is such a fascinating subject. I never was intrigued by time travel when I was a kid, but I do remember spending quite a bit of time trying to catch the exact moment the future became the past. It was harder than catching lightning bugs, that’s for sure.

  21. An extra hour in my pocket is a secret which allows me to feel smugly superior.

    How and when to spend such a treasure – ahh, that will reveal the true nature of my character. Am I ready for that?

    With the advent of computers and “smart phones”, the re-setting of time itself has almost become obsolete. Advanced technology or a giant leap backwards to the pages of a Farmer’s Almanac?

    Another wonderful experience of enjoying rich, textured writing of the finest quality.

    1. That extra hour in your pocket reminds me of a favorite song from long ago — something about catching a falling star and putting it in your pocket.

      Speaking of old-style clock setting, I have to stop my grandmother clock for an hour in order to ‘fall back,’ and then have to remember to start the pendulum swinging again. In like manner, I have to pull the weights up once a week, but that’s not much of a bother. Besides, it keeps running when the electricity goes out, and it doesn’t require batteries. It has three chimes (I prefer Westminster), ticks in a comforting manner, and chimes on the quarter hour. To be honest, I rarely hear it, although when I forget the weight-pulling, its silence becomes noticeable.

  22. Lovely essay, Linda and beautiful photos to match. I like the change, though I am a warm weather, sun-lover. Change is good, the same-ole/same-ole requires shaking up from time to time, even if it’s done by a clock.

    1. Of course, too much change or constant change can create problems, but clock-changing is both benign and attention focusing: not a bad combination, really. It gives people a socially acceptable reason to gripe, if they need one, and it pleases the bicyle riders and dog walkers. What could be better?

    1. Of course, that early morning light means I have to adjust to getting up earlier — or at least getting to work earlier. When I worked in more traditional settings, I enjoyed the lighter mornings, too. Of course, the shorter days are becoming noticeable now, and no matter whether our light comes early or late, there’s not going to be so much of it for a while!

  23. I love the idea of saving the extra hour until we need it! But beyond that, thank you for this post. It’s a reminder that how we spend our time really is how we live our life, and that we should always choose wisely.

    1. And that’s really the point. My little game with time is pointless in a way, since time can’t really be “saved.” But we do have choices about how to use it, and that’s what’s important. Despite all the things that disrupt our lives, we have more control over the time given to us than we sometimes realize.

    1. What do I do in spring? Why, I reset the clocks, and otherwise ignore it. I certainly don’t feel any sense of loss. After all, in springtime the days are getting longer, and there’s more opportunity after work to have a walk, or enjoy the sunset. What could be better?

  24. What an inspiring and thoughtful post. I never thought of that extra hour that way, only that in past years I could stay in the Botanic Gardens doing photography a bit later (until the day I was about 50 metres from the gate and saw the groundsmen about to lock the last gate in my area – gosh, did I scream out and run).

    I missed the change over this year and couldn’t understand why my desk clock and computer were on different times.

    1. I suspect there were a good number of people who missed the change this year, Vicki. I know a lot of people who are so confused about what day — or week — it is that an hour here or there seems like small stuff!

      I laughed at the thought of you running to get out of the Gardens before the gate-locking. I’ve noticed that at the various refuges I visit, there are signs near the gates that say, “In case of emergency, call [whichever number].” I suspect the emergencies rarely involve medical emergencies or other such events. It’s more likely that someone who’s hiking in a far area gets caught, and needs to call for the code to open the gate.

  25. A welcome essay, and a good reminder to be mindful of time and how you use it. I still work with others, so I have to heed the time change. Other than my work schedule, the time change in fall means I have to be mindful of the clock when I go for late afternoon walks in the woods – or carry a flashlight. I love the first image – a silhouette of composites in fall or winter?

    1. I smiled at your comment about woods-walking after the time change. I was in the east Texas woods on Sunday, and the combination of the time change and lowered sun made me suddenly fearful I’d overstayed and would be driving home in the dark. Not so — when I got back to the car, it was only 2:30 in the afternoon! Amazing, really.

      The photo you like is of composites, but I’m not sure of their identity. I took it in Kansas, near the Tallgrass Prairie a few years ago, in October. They’re not sunflowers, but had a nice, Asteraceae-ish seed head.

  26. That’s a refreshing take on a vexing subject, Linda. I love the notion of gift of an extra hour, but I’m afraid it won’t help me get over my difficulty with early darkness in the evening and with waking extra early. But a positive attitude certainly helps.

    1. It does take time to adjust, doesn’t it? I’ll continue to wake at 4:30 a.m. for a few days, until my internal clock gets reset. I don’t much mind whether the darkness is morning or evening, but I do find the shorter days constraining. There’s nothing I can do about it, though, so cultivating that positive attitude becomes important.

  27. Before I retired, I was a primary school teacher and I used to do exactly the same as you re putting the clock back, seeing that extra hour in the day as a perfect gift to do with as I pleased. That last Sunday of daylight saving time was a Sunday I enjoyed more than most.
    In recent times, I’ve wondered what we are really saving, especially when the clocks go forward and we descend back into dark mornings for a while. It seems to me, that whatever we save at one end of the day, we ‘spend’ at the other end.

    1. I remember how confused I was as a kid; I never could decide whether we were supposed to be saving daylight, or saving time. Now, I understand that we aren’t really ‘saving’ anything. We’re just manipulating the clocks to serve some fuzzy, inexplicable purpose. Still, it’s fun to play with that hour. Even though I’m somewhat free of the tyanny of the clock, I do enjoy having that bit of ‘extra’ time in my pocket, and I remember the kind of schedule you kept as a teacher well enough to also remember how nice those Sundays were!

  28. Beautifully written, Linda! Here, we operate by the cat stomach clock, which knows nothing of, and cares nothing of Pacific Daylight Time or Pacific Standard Time. They have less of a problem with PDT in the spring, finding themselves surprised and amused by an earlier breakfast. The arrival of PST in autumn is met with early morning yowls.

    Cat stomach clocks also appear to be tied to their time zone of origin. The last of the venerable felines that operated on Eastern Time passed away back in 2009, leaving only their Pacific Time colleagues to drive the daily cycle.

    1. I’ve never heard anyone talk about time zone as a determinant of behavior. That’s really interesting. It almost sounds like a kind of geographic imprinting. I wonder if people are affected, too. There are things I’ve carried with me from my Iowa childhood I would have expected to fade, but they haven’t: the sound of robin song, or the ability to smell approaching snow.

      Spring never affected Dixie Rose, either. As a matter of fact, I’m not much affected in the spring. Now, it will take me a little while to adjust my sleeping schedule, and when Dixie was with me — well. That yowling for breakfast could be memorable!

    1. There’s always another way to look at the things life imposes on us! We may not be able to change the politicians’ commitment to continual clock-changing, but we can change our relationship to it!

  29. I confess to being a complainer. As an office worker, I feel a slave to the clock; and since I’m not a morning person I have always wished to have my extra daylight AFTER 5:00. Ah well, I think it makes the change in spring more exciting & so I can tolerate “losing” an hour then.

    I used my “extra” hour crocheting & trying to tell my fumbling fingers that it was really only 9:00 instead of 10:00. I should have saved it for the next day!

    1. I certainly remember those days of clock-watching in an office, and I well remember the difference between leaving in sunshine at the end of the day, and leaving in winter gloom. Sunshine is better, for sure. Just ask Ms. Pinky!

      I think it’s amazing you can get your fingers to crochet at any hour. When it comes to sweet mysteries of life, knitting and crocheting are right up there, at least in my book.

  30. I like your attitude here, Linda. It would not bother me if we had no clocks at all but relied on the cosmic pointers all around us, but that would be taking things too far I guess. Lovely photos, especially the opening one with those beautiful colours and curves.

    1. Well, clocks help with dinner dates and doctors’ appointments, not to mention businesses, but they’re often not necessary. I’ve never yet made an appointment with a flower, and I suspect your millipedes and moths don’t carry a dayplanner, either.

  31. Your images are lovely. I laughed about your observance of Dixie Rose, which is just the same experience with my Oscar and Lollipop. It seems three weeks is what it takes to adjust. Now, the fawns? It took less than a week for them to discover morning feedings were at a different time. And the chickens… well, they’re always piled up at the little door like a bunch of kids waiting to head out for recess. At the first inkling of daylight, they’re at the ready! When Forrest retires (hopefully in January), I hope we can forget about schedules, time and clocks. I want to live as the wild things do.

    1. You’ve just answered my question about dogs vs. cats. I’d not heard anyone mention whether dogs respond to the time change in the same way, but apparently they do. It sounds like your fawns are like my squirrels. No matter what time I put out their treats, early or late, they show up in about thirty seconds. Clearly, they’re keeping watch from their limbs, or they have ESP — extra squirrely perception!

  32. I enjoyed your cheerful point of view and musings regarding this annual ritual. Here’s to a Woolfian room of one’s own and that extra hour in reserve of one’s own — and for me, extra hours of daylight all year.

    1. I like your drawing a relationship between Woolf’s room and the spacious feel of an extra hour. Time’s walls can seem to close in as surely as those of a too-small room; opening the curtains to allow for that bit of extra sunlight’s often the solution.

  33. A soothing point of view that makes me smile. I like your pondering and observation that this extra hour is ours to do with as we see fit. If we can remember that we are the custodians of our days, I guess. I like the colors and shapes in your first photo. Happy Standard Time!

    1. And there’s the point that let me leave this post up for an extra day or two — that once we have the clocks reset, we still have the chance to fill up our hours as we choose. Well, at least to some extent. When the cat wants to be fed, or the car stops working, or there’s suddenly no coffee in the house, the days fill themselves up — but at least we can be a little more aware of how they’re filling!

  34. Seems like I’ve heard you say something before about ‘saving’ that extra hour in the fall for something special.

    I spent my extra hour resetting all my clocks. Truck, microwave, three alarm clocks, clock in the bathroom (so I can keep track of how early or late I’m running on work day mornings), four clocks in the living room and I’m not going to mention how many battery operated watches I own.

    My supervisor has now dubbed me “The Clock Lady.” In the modern world of smart phones and smart watches, it seems fewer people have clocks that need to be reset.

    I like clocks. Certain styles of clocks attract my eye. None of them are vintage or valuable. Now that I can hear them again, I like them even more. I find the background sound of tick-tick-tick nostalgic and soothing.

    1. I’m sure you have heard me muttering about that extra hour — I’ve been doing it for a long time, maybe even back in the WU days. I’m like you when it comes to loving the sound of a ticking clock. Most of the time I don’t hear my grandmother clock (not even the striking), but if I forget to pull the weights and it stops, I hear the silence. Simon and Garfunkle got it right; there is a ‘sound of silence.’ It’s nice that you’ve moved out of that world.

      I haven’t worn a watch since I started varnishing. They’re a hazard around tools and rigging, and after a few months of not wearing one at work, I just stopped entirely. I usually can tell time by the position of the sun, although it will take some time (!) to get used to the new slant of light. What’s caught me by surprise this year is the shortened days. It seems as though the winter solstice is coming faster than ever before.

      1. To be honest, I don’t wear a watch all that much, either. I have my clock in the truck and my clock on my computer at work to keep me in line. I tend to wear one if I’m going to be off somewhere for several hours and when there won’t be a clock around, if I need to check the time.

        As for my watch collection? I find myself unable to resist ‘vintage’ looking watches at the thrifts. I have two that are running and wearable, at the moment. The others all need new batteries and/or bands and I just haven’t gotten around to replacing them.

        1. The prettiest vintage watch I ever saw had a marcasite case. I managed to resist it, but some of those really are elegant. If I ever needed to wear a watch again, that’s what I’d look for.

  35. I reset the clocks sometime in the afternoon or before I go to bed. I don’t mind doing that, and I don’t really mind darkness coming an hour earlier, but I usually have an adjustment period before my sleep gets back to normal. It isn’t always an issue, but when it is, it’s annoying. I hope you enjoy your extra hour. I know you will.

    1. It’s those adjustment periods that get us, right? I’ve been sitting here pondering something, and have to ask: have any of your clocks ever gone retrograde? I mean — if the oven’s refusing 325 or 375, I can’t help wondering if you might have a clock suddenly refusing 8 p.m., or even 6 a.m. You might ask your repairman if he does clocks, too!

      1. My clocks seem to be impervious to the shenanigans of retrograde influence. But now that you’ve mentioned it, they will probably go haywire.

  36. I like that idea, banking an hour for future use. I am in a mixed state of DST flux. Photographically I operate much as you do, getting out an appropriate time before sunrise depending on my desired location for my shoot. But for work it is a little different although I can go come as I please when no appointment is scheduled. I do try to keep a regular arrival time though. I adapt to the change pretty easily. Bentley though not so much. He still is on DST, maybe more appropriately BST, and now gets me up at 2 a.m. rather than 3. I keep thinking he’ll eventually adjust but so far no go.

    As far as the resetting time goes, it varies and sometimes different clocks get done at different times when I think of it. Two clocks never get changed however. No good reason why.

    1. You’ve just offered another bit of confirmation that dogs and cats respond in the same way to the autumn time change. The wild animals don’t care one whit, but the ones who’ve become domesticated — and accustomed to schedules — have other ideas about it all. I must say, the thought of being wakened by a pet at 2 a.m. would lead me to institute ear plugs and a retraining program: pronto!

      With a previous car, I never reset the clock. I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I suppose I could have read the instruction manual, but that would have been too easy — or perhaps I tried, and the instructions flummoxed me. It does happen.

      1. When I replaced the Mazda I had just learned how to change the clock. Now, two and a half years later, I am just now figuring out the Forester’s time controls. Once you find the formula it’s not too difficult…if you can remember it. I forget.
        Our other beagles seemed to easily adapt and I don’t remember Bentley having difficulty changing with the time in the past. But now he is hanging on to his old schedule. Sleep is overrated.

  37. What a thoughtful essay, Linda. Me? I’m a savings time girl. Give me those days that last longer — I don’t care how dark it is when I get up! And I have a horrible time falling back. So does Lizzie, who is now bugging me for dinner at 3 instead of 4 (and dinner time is 5:30 or 6!) But she’ll still let me sleep as long as I do (or stay abed.) Once the feet hit the floor, though, she’s all over it! I never feel like I’ve had an “extra hour;” since I end up rising early that day, I poop out early too! Yet there are still 24 hours in a day and we just adjust ourselves to them.

    Apart from the microwave, which is my go-to clock, I don’t worry about adjusting the clocks till I get to them. Even that one isn’t done before going to bed. It was different when I worked but now it’s just a number. Sort of like lake time where there is one clock (apart from the computer) — on the night stand. The rest of the day we operate by the sun and if we’re hungry.

    1. Lucky you, to have such an accomodating Lizzie-kins! I used to try putting food out for Dixie before I went to bed, but eventually I figured out she was less interested in food than in company; she just wanted me to get up, and she was determined that we’d keep the same schedule.

      Like you, I enjoy the longer days from equinox to equinox, and don’t really mind whether it’s light in the morning or evening. Lake time’s like my time — and isn’t it nice to be able to eat lunch when you please, and not on a given ‘lunch hour’? Even at work, things are pretty casual. If I finish laying some varnish and need to wait a bit for it to dry, that’s often lunch time. It might be 11, or it might be 1:30. It works — that’s what counts.

  38. Enjoyed your take on time and saving your hour. I’ve certainly been more flexible about adjusting my clocks since leaving the world of employment. Only my clock/radio bedside automatically adjusts the time. Of course, the computers take care of themselves from the internet. In fact, I do have a number of time pieces that require a manual reset. My wristwatch is the only one I typically reset before I go to bed at night whatever the time, or sometimes not until the next morning, I don’t stress over it.

    1. Being able to live without stressing over time is wonderful. Sometimes it arrives as a gift, or as a result of circumstances, and sometimes we learn to cultivate it, but in either event, it’s a nice stressor to be rid of. I often laugh at the squirrels that live in the trees outside my window. There are mornings when they’re up at the crack of dawn, while on other days they don’t appear until well after sunrise: even hours later. I’m not sure why they’re ‘sleeping in,’ but I admire their freedom to do so.

  39. I really enjoyed this wonderful post, Linda. I’ve always thought daylight savings was silly, and was so happy when the children had graduated from school and I could go off-leash, as it were. I do the same thing with that hour, although being visual rather than verbal I’ve never articulated it as you have so well here.
    That photo of the bayou…that is really beautiful.

    1. I’ll never forget that afternoon on the bayou; it was the day a friend and I scared up an alligator on the bank, and nearly gave ourselves heart attacks. It was a fine sunset, and we were glad to be alive and whole to see it.

      I’d be just as happy if we could leave the clocks alone, although I would prefer to leave them set at the daylight saving time hour. I like the extra light at the end of the day, although, given that my working hours are set by the sun regardless of what the clock says, it doesn’t really affect my life.

  40. Thanks… what a great idea! I suppose you could use it to great purpose in the spring as well, having the clock leap past some nasty hour in your week! But that might be trickier. The leaves are all down now, and the sun is getting a little lower every day. Around 5:30 or so, the light is magical and I rejoice for such light, which sometimes just takes me to a different place.

    1. I can’t believe that in all these years, I never thought about ‘springing forward’ through a difficult or unpleasant time! Maybe my life’s better than I realized. It certainly is the answer for those who’ve asked me about that loss of an hour in the spring, though. I’m in your debt!

      This is a special time of year, and that special light you mention comes here, too. I have to be sure and fill the bird feeders when I come home for lunch. If I wait, the squirrels and birds often have gone off to bed before I get home in the evening. Just now, the doves still are feeding, but they will be the last,unless a cardinal happens by.

    1. The short days are becoming noticeable, aren’t they? I’m always amazed that people can thrive in almost total darkness during the Arctic’s midwinter. I much prefer some sunlight!

  41. Thanks for spurring thoughts on elastic time and goofy humans.
    Well, the Senate has decided to freeze time. I wonder how that will play out, since it was tried before (in the seventies, I think) and given up.
    Meanwhile, my rhythms are slowly catching up to the present time focus. Since going part-time, I’ve gotten lazy. If my partner doesn’t keep our clocks, I’m sure they’d all read differently, and I’d be either late or early with what I need to do.
    We all spend so much time trying to capture time we forget the moment. Sun and shadow change daily, and I’m getting the hang of ignoring the hoo-haw of timekeeping in favor of revolving with what’s given.
    Oops, have to be somewhere at noon…

    1. I doubt that the Senate’s bill will be approved, since most experts who are weighing in, while favoring an end to twice-a-year changes, prefer that standard time be instituted on a year-round basis. I think the change is an annoyance, but I give it very little thought. Falling back is hardest, for me. I have to prepare a day ahead, stopping my pendulum clock for 23 hours, then remembering to start it again.

      Otherwise, it makes little difference to me. I’ve not worn a watch in 30 years, and the only clocks I have are in the car and on the microwave. The pendulum clock was my parents, and I keep it for the chimes. Of course there’s the computer and phone, but they do their own thing.

      Since I go to work when the sun comes up and stop when it gets dark, it doesn’t make a bit of difference to me what the clock says. Likewise with my pleasures. I prefer not to drive less well known country roads in the dark, so the presence of daylight’s all that matters. On the occasions when the hour makes a difference, I do manage to show up when I should.

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