I’m not crazy about winter’s lack of sunlight. I get by, but I don’t particularly enjoy it. One of my regular stops is the National Research Council’s Sunrise/Sunset calculator, which tells me the precise times of sunrises, sunsets and twilight’s beginnings and ends for any given day.
For instance, I look up December 21, 2006 and find that we got 8.43 hours (8 hours, 25.8 min) of daylight and another 1.2 of twilight for a total of 9.63 hours of some sort of light.
Now, on January 21, 2007, we’re moving up to 9.08 hours (9 hours, 4.8 min) of daylight, with 1.14 hours of twilight for a grand total of 10.22 hours of illumination. We’ve gained a whopping 39 minutes. Woo-hoo!
By Valentine’s Day, we’ll be up to 10.23 hours of daylight, 1.06 hours of twilight for a total of 11.28 hours of light. Sixty-nine more minutes of daylight than we’re getting now, not counting twilight changes. Not bad.
By mid-March, I’m usually feeling human again in the mornings. I get up in the light, John drives home in the light, everyone’s happy. Right? Well, technically, on March 11th, dawn would come at 7:09, with twilight starting at 6:37. You get out of bed in the light and jump into the day. The sun sets at 6:00 and dusk ends at 6:31. Lots of light, at just the right times. Except the government doesn’t like that. We’re starting Daylight Saving Time on March 11th this year, roughly a month early. Every bit of hard-won progress we’ve made will be nipped in the bud. Zap!
So, come March, I’ll be getting up in the dark, again. Sure, it’ll be light later in the evening, but that makes no real difference to us as John gets home between 6 and seven sometime and we roll right into the supper-Katherine to bed-evening work routine. I’m not sure what the real point of this was. I’m reserving final judgement on exactly how stupid an idea it is until we try it out, but I’m not happy.
Ben Franklin thought up the original idea of Daylight Saving. Franklin was a clever man. I’m not sure his successors, to whom I attribute this current manifestation of temporal distortion, are quite as illustrious. But I may have known that before the whole daylight thing came up.