A Lightening Up: Everyday Magic, Day 967

Tiny crocus from the backyard in a tiny vase

Daylight Savings Time, beside being a kick that keeps kicking our sleeping patterns for a while, heralds a kind of lightening up, particularly if, like me, you’re not an early riser. For those of us sleep-until-it’s-been-light-for-awhile slackers, the time shift surprises us with more light at the end of the day, but I also experience this time of the year as a weight off my shoulders. Winter, which took up big-living residence in the house of time this year, is showing signs of packing some of her bags. Crocus, tinier than usual because of the cold, are unfurling. Birdsong sweetens its tune each morning. The temperature is playing tennis in the 40s, even the 50s, and dare we say the low 60s too. Sometime in the near future, there will be magnolia blooming, and then within a month, lilac.

I’m also experiencing a lightening up in my life. For the first time ever, spring break has no relevance to our lives. Daniel, who is finishing up grad school, isn’t coming home this time because of thesis-writing and internship-working. No one else is bursting through the front door with backpacks, suitcases, and leftover six-packs of craft beer either. We’re not packing or unpacking from a spring break trip either.

Mostly, though, my work is lightening up, and by that, I don’t mean the time involved but the weight of the work. I’ve realized that work hours weight variable amounts, some light and airy like beach balls, and others heavy and dense like medicine balls. Still on leaving from teaching, I’m juggling more beach balls: leading more workshops and retreats, writing a short-ish grant, planning new writing and consulting adventures, and, as one friend wished for me, finding my wings. Achieving lift-off necessitates shedding what’s no longer needed, then leaning into the thermals — the best winds that will give me lift-off — and letting go.

Today, I go for a long walk with Anne and Shay the dog. Then an open evening, and perhaps time to draw more birds as I teach myself more about playing with colored pencils and really seeing the contours and colors of what else takes flight. The sun is leaning hard against the clouds and may soon break through, reminding me that yes, little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter, but now there’s something lighter — in temperature, weight, and sunlight — coming.

So even if this morning required twice as much coffee or longer stretches of sleeping in for you, I wish you a daylight savings time that truly helps you discover more shining daylight in your life and more saving graces in your time.

Why Daylight Savings Time Confuses the Heck Out of Me: Everyday Magic, Day 515

It’s no wonder these time changes make me feel like I’ve woken up on another planet because time, for most of the year, seems absolute and universal. Then we mess with it each time we spring forward or fall back, revealing the way we track time to be other silly human invention. Because my days and nights are fastened to this imaginary wheel of time, I end up lying in bed in the morning after the time change having this conversation with myself:

“What time is it?”

“No idea!”

“The computer says 9:23 a.m., but is it 8:23?”

“I don’t know. Does the computer understand daylight savings time better than you?”

“I can’t tell, but what time would it be at this time yesterday?”

“Why does it matter? Are you trying to figure out if you slept enough hours again?”

“Yes, you know me best! But later tonight, when it’s time for sleep, do I add or subject to figure out what it was yesterday?”

“Doesn’t that depend on whether we’re using Greenwich time as a base or exactly what time zone we’re in?”

“What are you talking about? We never left Kansas!”

“How do you know? If the time changed, we could be anywhere.”

And so it goes until, about a week or so into this, I forgot there ever was anything but daylight savings time. I settle myself into this new way of naming the amount of light in the sky as if it’s the only way.

While the time we assign ourselves on clocks is imaginary and prone to both sides now, there’s another kind of time that the birds, trees and weather patterns understand, and it has nothing to do with adding or subtracting hours. The pair of great blue herons will cross from the wetlands back to the lake at the same time they did yesterday even if our clocks call it different numbers. Our new dog will stand next to me as I sleep, staring into my face until I wake up at the exact time he needs to go out. And if I pay enough attention, I might even be able to figure out, when I open my eyes, if I slept enough for however many slots the day ahead has or doesn’t have.