As I begin writing this column, it’s early Sunday morning. Most of the nation, including Tennessee, “fell back” last night while we slept. Like it or not, we’ll be off Daylight Saving Time for the next four months.
Sunshine is streaming in through my living room windows, causing the plastic solar-powered dancing turkey on my coffee table to shake his head and his tail feathers with enthusiasm. I feel energized from my extra hour of sleep, so energized that I’ve already changed the clocks in my kitchen, office, bedroom and bathroom. Because the computer and cell phone take care of themselves, only the car clock remains. I’ve made the bed, fed the dog and cat, filled the birdfeeders, watered the houseplants and emptied the dishwasher. And I still have a few minutes left before heading to town for Sunday School and church. All this daylight in the morning is fabulous. I LOVE falling back!
It’s 2:00 now and the warm autumn afternoon is breathtakingly beautiful. The slant of the sun’s rays is different, but they light up the red and yellow and orange and deep, deep purple of oaks and maples and sycamores and sweetgums just as wonderfully as they did yesterday. From my flowerbed I pull up dead stalks of zinnias that, just last week, were still providing bouquets for my table and lay them at the edge of the woods. I yank impatiens, wilted and blackened by recent cold temperatures, out of their flower boxes and plant pale purple pansies in their place. I heave my Halloween jack-o-lantern, swarming with tiny bugs and dripping goo all over my arms and hands, into the brush pile at the end of my driveway. I sweep curled brown leaves off the porch. I unscrew the garden hose from the spigot and drag it to the garage. My dog has likely had her last outdoor bath until spring.
It’s 4:39 and the sun has already dipped below the horizon. That’s what happens when you live only one county west of the Eastern Time Zone. The air has grown chilly so I pull on a jacket before taking Kamala on today’s final walk around the block. I buckle a glow-in-the-dark collar around her neck before we head out. A black dog is near-invisible on a November evening. It’s 5:00 when we get home, much earlier than when I usually have supper, but I’m hungry so I eat.
Now it’s 7:20. I closed the blinds and turned on the lamps hours ago. I’ve fed the animals again, brushed my teeth and put on a long-sleeved t-shirt and flannel lounge pants, which we all know is really just another name for pajamas. It’s time, at last, for the Titans-Rams kick-off. I’ve been looking forward to this game all day. But barely into the first quarter, I discover that I can hardly keep my eyes open. By the time this game ends, it will have been night for six hours. No way can I stay awake that long. This is craziness. I HATE falling back!
All of which leads me to Marco Rubio, one of the U.S. Senators from Florida. I’m not a member of his fan club for reasons far too numerous to list here, but he has championed one cause I hardily agree with. For the past several years, Rubio has filed bills in the Senate seeking to make Daylight Saving Time permanent across the United States. “We need to stop changing the clock,” he says. “Falling back and springing forward just doesn’t make sense anymore.” So far, the bills have been introduced only to die. Here’s hoping Rubio won’t quit trying.
Because stopping this twice-a-year time-change madness is one worthy cause both Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree on.
(Jennie Ivey is a Cookeville writer. Her e-mail is [email protected])