This morning I thought about one special hour of the year, and how much I look forward to it.
It always happens in autumn – a bonus, because that’s my favorite season of the year. This single hour has had a strange history, morphing around the calendar and around the globe. It is an artificial, “made-up” hour, and over the centuries it has shrunk to half its size or grown to twice itself, even vanished altogether depending on the prevailing political winds.
Currently this magical hour pops into existence on the first Sunday of November and squeezes back through a tiny time warp on the second Sunday of the next March.
I prepare for the coming of my favorite hour like a grade school child hanging up a stocking by the fireplace, knowing that “Santa” isn’t real but wanting to participate in the magic anyway. So just before I go to bed on the Saturday eve, I go around the house, in an anticipatory ritual of setting every clock back an hour, then colluding in my own pretence by “forgetting” that I have done so.
The next morning, when my body wakes at its usual time, I unshutter one eye to squint at the clock and – this is what makes it my favorite hour! – I’m joyously surprised by the gift of an extra sixty minutes before I need to rise. Like a steeping teapot I snuggle back into the cozy of my warm sheets, happily extracting one more hour of delicious flavors from the night’s dreaming.
Technically, that fabricated hour will be available again the next morning and the next, and all the coming mornings until mid-March. But those hours are never quite the same as this best one, on the first morning when we leave behind Daylight Savings Time.