November 7, 2013

Let the Sunshine In

Let the Sunshine In

It was nice waking up Sunday morning after getting in an extra hour of sleep, thanks to the end of Daylight Saving Time – not that my body’s clock knew anything about the change. But then came 4:30PM, when I looked out of my apartment window and was reminded that while the extra hour was a nice once-a-year bonus, for the next 4 1/2 months the sun will set way too early, at least for me.

I live in New York, and our hours of daylight during the winter are just not enough. At the end of June, when our days are the longest, the sun rises at 5:24AM and doesn’t set until 8:31PM. That’s a great time of year. But from the end of June on, sunrise gets progressively later and sunset progressively earlier, with the sun rising in December at 7:20AM and setting at 4:29PM.

We go from 15 hours of daylight to nine hours, which is just not enough. There are many, many days when I leave my house before sunrise and don’t get home until well after sunset, and unless I have a lunch or a meeting outside the office, it is quite possible on any given day that I don’t get a chance to see the sun at all.

I did a little research and found out that Daylight Saving Time (not Savings) dates back to 1784 and Benjamin Franklin. I guess he did more than invent the $100 bill. It started out as a way to get more sunlight into the evening hours during the summer months and has evolved since then to stretch from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. It seems that the government first legislated Daylight Saving Time in 1918. It was then modified by The Uniform Time Act of 1966, and then modified several more times, most recently by The Energy Policy Act of 2005. You really can’t make some of this stuff up, and I’ve left out many of the steps along the way. At least I now know what our elected officials are busy doing in Washington on any given day.

I, for one, don’t like the shorter days that winter brings, but it’s tough to change Mother Nature, planet rotation and the cycle of the seasons. Perhaps we can start a campaign to make Daylight Saving Time a year-long event so we have more light in the afternoon when we can enjoy it in winter as well as summer. This would certainly give everyone in Washington something to focus on other than Obamacare and the next government shutdown deadline. I’m sure we could all use an extra dose of Vitamin D to keep us young and happy.