Sunday, March 30, 2008

Prima Luce

early morning light in our garden

We are on daylight saving time (DST) starting today *grins*. I don’t mind having the "time" one hour in advance that much. Yes, it might mean losing one good hour of sleep or having to adjust one’s body clock. Not to mention changing the time of all our watches and clocks (unless they are equipped to auto-adjust during DST period), and getting a bit disoriented in keeping your schedule. But they are just minor hitches compared to having the sun until 9-10PM: you can have evening barbecues, longer afternoons to do leisure activities, or just spending the evening outside chatting with some friends over a glass (or maybe a pitch) of beer *winks*. And on the practical side, now that the price of electricity and gas (and almost everything) is perpetually increasing, we can save money and energy by using daylight at the break of dawn and the better part of the evening instead of turning on the lights.

It’s interesting to note that the practice of adjusting clocks is practiced for more than 3000 years. The ancient Egyptians, Babylonians and Romans used variable water clocks and who knows, maybe the Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England was also a variable sundial (well, I’ve read somewhere that during summer solstice, the sun is in a particular position with respect to these prehistoric stone circle). Benjamin Franklin, during his stay in Paris, observed that Parisians rise early in the morning to maximize the long daylight hours (well, even if they don’t want to get up, they would be forced to do so because church bells would be ringing and canons would be fired to announce the start of the day. I don’t think anyone can go on sleeping with that kind of noise *giggles*). And contrary to "common" knowledge, it wasn’t Franklin who established the use of DST (although he did write a satire about it, encouraging people to wake up earlier in summer) but it was William Willett, a British businessman. Willett advocated advancing the clock in order to take advantage of longer daylight hours in summer (source: wikipedia).

But with or without DST, one thing I like about spring and summer (aside of course, from the good weather) is that we have longer hours of daylight. Just imagine being able to stay outdoors without having to hurriedly end it with the coming of dusk! You can really make the most of your spring break or summer vacation. One can have dinner in your own yard or balcony or even just inside the house with the windows open, watching the sunset and the dramatic change of the sky from clear blue to reddish orange to black with stars twinkling in the night sky.You can hear the cacophony of birds’ twitter as they roost in the nearby bushes and trees. And as darkness falls, you can light candles or lanterns to prolong the evening in a romantic glow.

Just thinking of these things already makes me feel light-headed with glee. No matter how romantic a white Christmas seems --- snow slowly falling, enveloping everything in white; dazzling Christmas lights; hollies and mistletoes hanging on doors or windows;I would still prefer having longer afternoons walking along the narrow winding roads of a medieval town, or watching sunsets by the beach (wish I could soon go some place near the sea *sigh*), or just having a nice lively dinner with a couple of friends outside under the twilight dusk.


Portia said...

You've got beautiful photos here,my friend.We'll always keep abreast and be visiting you often.Thanks for the link.Happy to meet you online.Cheers!

lareine said...

thank you very much portia for the wonderful comment... nothing beats the the happiness of being appreciated... i'm also happy to meet you online... well, i guss we'll be "seeing" each other soon:)...

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