Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's AboutTime

This is the last week of Daylight Savings Time (DST). It means, for me at least, a welcome re-setting of my daily schedule. I find it hard to sleep once the sky begins to lighten, but at the same time I don’t like to get up in the dark. With DST, for the last two weeks or so I’ve been doing just that. My usual routine is to get up, dress for the weather, take the two big dogs and make a circuit of one of the many trails on the ridge behind the house, or around the fields across the road. We are out for half-an-hour or more, depending on the length of the trail and the mosey-ness of the dogs. They both like to graze as we walk, and some of places can hold them for four or five minutes at a time. Teddy can also be distracted by something small below the surface, and will dig a significant hole trying to capture it. He will catch up (nose, chest and paws holding traces of the hole) most of the time. We stop and wait for him unless we are in sight of the house. Max, elderly and independent, will sometimes linger over a special bunch of grass, or a bush he finds interesting, and so we will stand and wait for him. If we move on too fast he’s likely to lie down and rest, or turn around and be at the front door waiting when Teddy and I get there. That worries me, because I like to know where my pals are.

But about time: If we get out too early we might surprise one of the bears that crosses from time to time, or jump a deer (that then runs off with Teddy in hot pursuit), or even run into a pack of coyotes. The deer are a good exercise for Teddy (he's fast but not that fast). Bears and coyotes are another matter. I wouldn’t want a confrontation with either. Neighbors insist that the dogs will scare off the bears, but I don’t want to take that chance. Coyotes, traveling in packs, can be dangerous for even two 80- to 90-pound aggressive dogs.

Time. We enjoy getting out just as the sun is starting to show itself over the top of the eastern ridge that defines the fields. I love to watch the sun rise above the horizon. At the flat angle from which we see it the movement to full exposure is rapid. Even on a morning like today, with the temperature around 250 we can feel the warming of the sun before we turn for home. In these last two or three weeks the sunrise has been appreciably later and later, which means the boys and I get out and back with only a little time in the sun. So we are looking forward to next Sunday, when we adjust to "sun time". It used to be that life was more-or-less tied to the four seasons. Now it seems we are working on just two: Spring (ahead), and Fall (back).

With the sun and the clock back in sync, winter can come. Re-setting everything to match some arbitrary standard doesn’t give us the gradual, natural easing from one season to the next. Time is something we need to value more than we do.

You can’t buy time, only trade it.

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