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Daylight Savings rambles

November 11, 2022

This piece represents the opinion of the author .
Perrin Milliken

One Sunday morning, you wake up, check your phone and gawk at the early hour—who would have thought that you would be up naturally at 8 a.m. on Sunday? The world is your metaphorical oyster, and a quick peek behind the blinds confirms the weather is beautiful. What a day. Then it dawns on you—this gloriously early hour is not in fact a product of your productive subconscious but instead a result of the dreaded daylight saving time. Alas, your inner productiveness is in fact a scam—you feel distraught and cheated.

Gaining awareness of shorter winter days, still bleary from sleep, is perhaps a common experience. This year, however, I have managed to skirt the sudden realisation that invariably grips me that annual November morning. With the prospect of daylight saving looming over my roommate and me all week, we planned to bake focaccia on Sunday. We had high hopes that the olive oil-soaked dough would stifle any bubbling seasonal depression.

In the evening, as the sun lowered into the abyssal darkness, we kneaded the dough and busied our hands with flour and foaming yeast. The fading light through the window served as a lingering reminder of the waning day. I peered in the gaping mouth of the oven: the cherry tomatoes were fit to burst and the homely scent of freshly-baked bread drifted over the counter. By the time I had put the oven mitts on, the sun had set.

No amount of salty, warm vapor steaming from the focaccia could make us blind to the sudden darkness that had suddenly fallen upon us. We savoured the pillowy dough but it was only a temporary break from the required: stepping outside into the twilight. By the time we had to leave the apartment, the bread had chilled and nothing held us in the soft cradle of the kitchen.

I held tight a stiff quarter of focaccia wrapped in the oh-so-versatile paper towel as the quiet darkness enveloped my roommate and me. 5 p.m. and the day was over. The campus had become a void of darkness. A few lone souls scampered down the low-light roads. At least we had focaccia.

However, now that we are settled comfortably in the week, we can rejoice that we survived the daylight saving D-Day. Moving past the Sunday shock, I realised that waking up is indeed easier when the sun has already risen.

Next year, if the Sunshine Protection Act is passed, the yearly swing from late evenings to early mornings and vice versa will disappear. Once we revert to daylight saving time permanently, any attempt to become an early-riser may be more easily thwarted; there is a bittersweet component to this change. This is the last time we will experience the deep darkness of winter as the clock chimes 4 p.m. However much I complain about the early sunsets, there is something enjoyable and deeply dramatic about twilight days. As the weather chills, we start living in a cocoon of night; hibernation invites a subtly attractive— albeit different—lifestyle.

At the start of the week, I went on a walk and enjoyed the early evening sunset. Smoked wood scent mingled with the rich golden light of winter. I had forgotten that one of my favourite things about winter was the low-hanging light and the peace that inhabits the landscape. Yes, winter brings shorter days, but also the sharp tinge of cold and the vivacity of being alive. All good things come with a little sacrifice, and if snow is to come, we need to adopt, in part, a nocturnal life, so be it.

Celeste Mercier is a member of the Class of 2026.


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