What does daylight saving time save again?Published 8:38am Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Column: Tales from Exit 22, by Al Batt
I’ve lost an hour.
I’ll bet it’s in the junk drawer.
Oscar Wilde wrote, “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.”
Oscar could have written that latter phrase about winter. Some years, we forget to tell winter when it’s done working. Even mild winters last long enough that winter seems as if it’s the only place we’ve been. Winter will leave, grudgingly. Ain’t no horse can’t be rode; ain’t no cowboy can’t be throwed.
We spring ahead for the next 34 weeks. Daylight saving time doesn’t save anything. It’s like sitting down. What you lose in the front, you gain in the back.
It’s spring when my Slinky heads south for spring training, snowmen become soft-serve, and innerspring mattresses turn green.
Spring is the time to take down the Christmas lights and to fire up the lawn mower that magically appeared through the melting snow.
March marches through mud and snow until April arrives with an assurance from the IRS that we have what it takes.
In May, we enjoy the company of insects whether we enjoy their company or not. A May bee is never certain. Spring is the best season — billions of mosquitoes can’t be wrong. We are what eats us. Each spring, someone puts a “Tick me” sign on my back. Flies bump against the screens like a scene from “Desperate Houseflies.” We dance around a Maypole at school on May 1. Then we tap the pole and enjoy Maypole syrup on pancakes.
The words of Rachel Carson written in “Silent Spring,” soothe us. “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
Yard couches bloom. Impatiens become impatient. If the slush and splash of seasons is a soggy one, enterprising farmers plant seaweed.
Every year, somebody on TV stands an egg on its end and declares that such a feat is possible only during an equinox. It’s possible at any time of the year, but it’s not possible with every egg. The TV personality should try standing a scrambled egg on its end. That would be challenging. One of my wife’s relatives, who ekes out a living on the Professional Standing Eggs On Their Ends (The PSEOTE) circuit, claims that all it takes is steady hands. He says that it works best if the egg is shaken. This breaks the yolk loose from its suspension in the center of the egg, lowering the egg’s center of gravity. I’ve found the easiest way to balance an egg on its end is to make a tiny mound of salt on a hard, smooth surface and carefully balance the egg on top of the salt.
Going from winter to spring is like going from an eight-pack of crayons to a 164-pack of colors. The world is colorized as some old black-and-white movies are, only in a good way. Spring is the time when worms emerge from the earth, buds appear on trees, flowers bloom, frogs sing, thunderstorms thunder and storm, UPS drivers wear shorts, and the entire world chirps. Red-winged blackbirds, sandhill cranes, turkey vultures, and killdeer move in without a moving van. Chipmunks chip and munk. Squirrels and telemarketers search for oozing sap. The vernal, or spring, equinox signals the beginning of nature’s renewal. Folklore says that three snows follow the first sighting of a robin. This applies to migratory robins, not those stubborn robins that kept us company all winter. The sound of a robin warbling “cheerily, cheer up, cheerily” settles the debate as to when is the first day of spring.
Spring arrives on the wings of a bluebird. Bluebirds are a sign of spring; warm weather and gentle south breezes they bring.
Spring is when a child loses a mitten and no one gets worked up about it. Spring is when you remember that the windows of your car can be opened. Spring is when you smell skunk spray through an open window.
I check my weather rock each morning. If it’s wet, it’s raining. If it’s white, it’s snowing. And if the rock is gone, it’s windy.
When you see a pocket gopher mound, that means that the frost is out of the ground — at least in that location.
Meteorological spring begins on March 1. The vernal equinox is on March 20.
So when does spring really start?
Right before the blizzard.
Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.