The Daylight Savings Time weekends usually trigger some armchair philosophizing about the concept of time. I go about from room to room setting the clocks that do not automatically set themselves with the control signal from WWVB in Colorado. I have an obsession about synchronizing the seconds with Universal Time Coordinated, UTC so there are a few “atomic” clocks in the house.
I prefer to get the time setting task out of the way on Saturday for the timepieces that must be manually adjusted. I strap on the wristwatch that is radio controlled then go about adjusting for the time change that takes place at 2:00 AM on Sunday. I like to dust and clean the clocks and watches as I handle each one. Of course, I make sure the seconds are in sync with WWVB.
Time is a fascinating concept. There are numerous uses of the word, “time”; but the definition we use regarding “clock time” or the “passing of time” is this one from Merriam-Webster:
“1a : the measured or measurable period during which an action,process, or condition exists or continues : DURATION
b : a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future”
We are a time-oriented species. We check our mobile phones, wall clocks, and watches to find out what time it is. We don’t want to be late to work or appointments, so it’s good to know what time of the day or night it is. Time is so convenient that way.
According to my observations, we have “biological clocks” and so do other earthly inhabitants–animal and plants. “Orange” the cat visits me like clockwork at around 3:45 Standard Time on those mornings which his legitimate owners allow him to roam freely. It seems as if he consults a clock so that he won’t miss his appointment to visit me for treats. “Orange” does not abide by Daylight Savings time, so I’ll have to alter my visiting schedule. My friends who keep dogs and cats say their pets exhibit similar behavior. The biological mechanism behind this phenomenon is baffling and worth pondering.
Humans have similar inklings about time. I regularly awaken a few minutes before the alarm clock is set to beep. The alarm clock is only in the bedroom as a backup means of awakening. I only awaken due to the clock’s noise once or twice per month. This works regardless of whether the clocks are set to Daylight Savings Time or Standard Time. I do not suffer time lag during Daylight Savings Time weekend.
Although the electronic and mechanical means of keeping track of time are perception-neutral, our brains are not. When we’re bored, time seems to crawl. When we’re engaged in an interesting, fun activity, time flies by quickly. When we’re doing something especially interesting, we wish for extra time.
“Time is a brisk wind, for each hour it brings something new…but who can understand and measure its sharp breath, its mystery and its design?”–Swiss alchemist, physician, and philosopher of the German Renaissance, Paracelsus
After we’ve logged many years of lifetime, our perception of time’s passage changes, too. I might vividly remember a certain event, like a vacation trip but I cannot accurately remember the year, month, and days that it took place. I rely upon a particular photo’s time-stamp or a journal entry for that information. Although I can remember my second vacation trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, I can only recall that I was in that city on my birthday. I’m not sure of the year, so I have to consult my scrapbook where I filed away the airline ticket receipt and various paper mementos I accumulated while in Canada. It turns out that the vacation trip happened longer ago than I guessed.
Time is the most valuable possession we have. I’ve probably spent more of your time than I planned to. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend time.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 20th century author and journalist, Carl Sandburg. “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”