Monthly Archives: March 2015

Coming Home With the Cows an Hour Early…or Would It Be an Hour Late?


Kansas artist and writer

I just googled the history of Daylight Savings Time and see that there’s good reason to be confused, what with all the starts and stops and changes—even Ben Franklin got involved in the idea. Our dear family friend, Avis, back in the 1960’s, said she didn’t like it at all because “that extra hour of sunlight will fade my living room drapes.”  So I have my own recent story about it, and though I have been known to exaggerate ever so slightly from time to time, I swear that the following account is true and unadorned and I have Rose Carter as my witness. And she was as confused as I was—bless you, my child!

It was Sunday morning and I was feeling quite virtuous from all I’d done by 9:15—fed the animals, had a cup of tea, checked email, had another cup of tea, made out three new lists: things to do today, things to do this week, things to do the rest of the month (which included making a list of things to do for the rest of the year). It was while reaching for my third cup of tea that I glanced at my cell phone. Huh….10:15. I looked again at my watch. The battery must be dying and it wasn’t that long ago that I replaced it. But, wait, now this was odd. It was exactly one hour behind…..well, odd things do sometimes happen. I added getting a new battery to the things-to-do-this-week-list and reset the time.

My next clue should have been early evening when I noticed the time on the stove clock was also behind and, you guessed it, exactly one hour. I will blame distraction here, as no doubt I heard the beginning of a cat fight or else Rose was wanting me to help her with a new hairstyle and asking why I couldn’t work the curling iron as well as her no-longer-living-at-home sister. And besides, the day was so beautiful and warm and I needed to get out and check to see what plants were breaking through the too dry soil. I had to make big decisions such as whether I should reconnect the hoses. Carrying watering cans was not the best option anymore, as my darn knees seemed to have developed arthritis overnight. Weren’t the knees the first thing to go? I was feeling cheered by the tops of crocuses and hyacinths peeking up when I looked at my watch, looked up at the sky, and said to myself, “Wow, if it’s this light at 7 o’clock now, imagine how light it will be when Daylight Savings starts!” O.K., so perhaps the knees aren’t the first to go after all.

I woke up Monday morning with Rose standing over me in the dark–were her incoming molars bothering her again? No,it turned out her cell phone alarm went off and did I realize it was already 6:29 and why was it so dark? Huh, now my ancient bedside clock was wacko too and I’d been meaning to get another one for months. But I needed to hurry if I was going to get in at least one cup of tea. As I was feeding the outdoor cats (putting eight piles of dry food down in a row while trying not to trip over eight rather greedy cats), I did notice how dark it was. Actually, now that I thought about it, quite a bit darker than this time Friday, the last time I had to rise at such an uncivilized hour of the day. Maybe clouds over the moon? Maybe it was really foggy? Maybe…and then I remembered the Nova show I had recently watched when I’d run out of The Middle reruns. It was about volcanoes and the “catastrophic” results if there was a really big eruption. Things like whole towns wiped out and long term climate change (as if we don’t have enough of that) and the sun blocked out…..uh oh…..somewhere during the night there had been a massive eruption and now the sun was blocked and why hadn’t I heard, but how could I have, although someone could have called me, surely.  As I hurried back inside to get to the computer to check out this disaster, an odd feeling came over me. The clocks, the evening lightness, the morning darkness….what if….and then I saw my calendar on the table, open to March. And March was the month of…..but surely not this early in March and if so, someone or something would have reminded me.  I looked down at the square that marked off the day before and there it was—Daylight Savings had started.

Although I certainly felt a big relief regarding the volcano eruption or lack thereof, I naturally also felt a concern about my mind or lack thereof.  Still, there must be many others out there with similar experiences–well, maybe not about the sun being blocked out, unless they’d also watched Nova. And if I may bring it up here, what about all the cows?  How do they know they get milked at a different time? And if they’re out in the pasture, how do they know when to come home?  I at least can set my watch forward, along with the answering machine on my home phone and the alarm clock and the stove clock, but not my computer or the car or my cell phone…is it any wonder???

I need to get my calendar and make a big red circle for the time change this fall—it’s mid October or maybe late October—but no, it was changed to early November a couple of years ago, I think. It’s “spring forward, fall back” so I will set the clocks back which means that in the morning, when it’s 5:45 a.m. and my alarm clock goes off (I hope I have a new one by then), it’s actually 4:45. Though not really, as 5:45 is back to the real time again, better known as standard time and that sounds more real…..sort of. Anyway, at least if Daylight Savings Time is over, I don’t have to worry about those drapes fading.

Kansas artist and writer