Save the Light

The monkeying of time and daylight first began way back in 1883 as railroad companies attempted to standardize service schedules. Later during the First World War Germany, Great Britain, and eventually the United States adopted the idea of daylight savings in an effort to conserve energy. There was significant push back (apparently people were showing up late to church) and within a year of Woodrow Wilson signing the Calder Act in 1918, daylight savings was repealed. But apparently not everyone thought it was such a bad idea and over the next 40 years various states and cities adopted their own forms of daylight savings and time zones. Trying to abate the confusion, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, requiring all Americans to abide by six months of standard time and six months of daylight savings, which is where we stand today[1].

Personally, I would much prefer 12 months of daylight savings. I am of course biased since 40 hours of my week are spent under grey cubical walls and florescent lights. I will gladly give up the rooster crowing rise of morning light in favor of just a little more post-work trail time (I mean, come on, hay doesn’t grown in the winter!). Sure cold and inclement weather signal the body that it is time to conserve energy by imbedding itself on a comfy couch in front of the warm glow of television. Darkness however can be the real motivation killer and gateway to months of hibernation. So why help winter days get shorter than they already are? 

As a photographer I also dread the return to standard time. Sun rise and set of course are the times of day when natural light is at its best. During the winter months one of these periods requires prying myself from the cozy womb my bed in the wee hours of the day to stand around in the cold, while the other usually involves me rushing out of the office to catch the last of the cherished golden hour. Like fitness, winter months are often a time when my photography motivation gets a little sluggish. So taking away another hour is just another nail in the coffin.

Not to be completely negative about the return to standard time. The shift to earlier evenings does have some positives. Longer nights in the house gives me time to restock the fly box, wax the skis, re-watch all 162 episodes of Magnum P.I., and finally get around to organizing my photo catalog. The six-months of standard time is also a great opportunity to plan next year’s adventures and cause me to appreciate those long summer days just that much more. Finally, the dark days give me plenty of time to sip whiskey, write my thesis, and petition Congress on why daylight savings should be the new standard time.

[1] Downing, Michael March 9, 2018. 100 Years Later Madness of Daylight Savings Time Endures. Smithsonian Magazine. Washington, D.C.

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