Sunday, March 9, 2008

Daylight Savings Time and Other Things That Make Me Sad

We have already, in my lifetime, lost the night sky to light pollution. According to The International Dark Sky Association, two-thirds of the population of the United States can no longer see the Milky Way. I remember the star-filled sky that I knew as a boy, and it seems to me that the we have not only lost something wonderful and awe-inspiring, but also a link with our past. For as long as people have been on this earth we have known a night sky alive with stars, planets, meteor showers, comets; a sky that inspired poets, musicians, philosophers, artists, even scientists. We have lost this basic commonality of experience with our forebears. To see that sky regularly confirmed the presence of a vast boundless (sic) universe full of potential. It was humbling but in a good way. That sky exists only in memories for me; it will never be a part of my children's experience. That is too bad.

By adding a month to daylight savings time, which now starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday of November, a legislative act has taken away our spring mornings in the garden. Yesterday the sun rose at 6:30, today, at 7:28. If you leave for work, or school, or daycare before 6:30, it will be the second half of April before you see your garden in the morning during the week. Maybe I am quibbling, but it seems to me that losing the chance to watch the daily progress of spring bulbs, flowers, azaleas, and to hear the swelling dawnsong of newly arrived songbirds is another thing, like the night sky, that I don't want to lose.

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