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Daylight is going, going, gone....

It happens every year, and there's nothing we can do to avoid it, but there's something depressing about "falling back" to standard time. I've always dreaded the switch and the "instant winter" it brings, robbing our daylight from the afternoon and tacking it onto the morning. Sure, we get a short-term one hour sleep bonus, but don't try and convince me that's any consolation.

Like many people, I'm a summer person. I enjoy getting outdoors in the warm weather, and especially enjoy taking advantage of the beautiful beaches we have here in Wilmington. Once Fall starts to roll around, we begin to see those early signs of the change in seasons. The afternoons begin to become comfortable instead of sweltering (that's a good thing), the mornings become refreshingly cool, and slowly but surely that sunset time gets earlier and earlier. But it's almost difficult to notice that we're eventually transitioning into the colder, darker months of winter.

In fact, in August, September, and October - you can hardly even notice that the days are getting shorter. But they are. Each day after the summer soltice (June 21), our days begin to get shorter and the sun starts to set just a little bit earlier. I like to think of it as somebody snatching a single penny out of your pocket each and every day; you hardly notice the difference. But when that same thief comes back and takes the only twenty you have in your wallet; it hurts. That's the way I feel about the switch to standard time. 

 

This Sunday as my last twenty was taken out of my wallet I awaited the typically odd feeling of watching the sunset around 5:00. As the light dwindled in the late afternoon I felt much the same way that I do every year -- "How many days until Spring?".

Now truth be told, this transition here in Wilmington is a far gentler one than what I became used to as a child in snow country. Heck, we'd typically already see some snow before switching the clocks. But once you fell back one-hour you were pretty much resigning yourself to four months of dark, cold, dreary weather, with mountains upon mountains of endless snow and the associated headaches that came with it. If you were a summer person, the worst was ahead of you.

Here, it's a much easier pill to swallow. With winter highs in the 60's and high 50's - it's not the bitter cold winter that so many across the country dread. In fact, we're the envy on many with our "winter warmth" here on the Carolina Coast. So maybe my associated daylight depression isn't valid anymore. Maybe I shouldn't fear the mild winter that we have ahead. Perhaps my distain for the time switch simply lingers from my distaste for the cold snowy months of those Syracuse winters that I endured for 20 or so years.

Even so, as the days continue to shrink heading into the winter season, I'll be asking the same question I do each and every winter. "How many days until Spring?"

(There's 130 if you're counting too!)

- TB

 

By: Tim Buckley

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