One of the hardest days of the year is the Monday following the start of the daylight saving time change. Somehow it feels like we have lost more than just an hour. Maybe it is the fact that most of us are now getting up in the dark. Sure it is nice having the extra hour at the end of the day, but starting the day in the pitch dark can be brutal.
Normally at 7 am Jaycee is up and in my face ready to get on with her day. This is Jaycee at 7 am the Monday morning after the time change.
When my alarm went off this morning I really wanted to pull the covers back up over my head, roll over and go back to sleep. It was especially hard because it is a cloudy, gloomy day here in Atlanta. I forced myself up, put on my walking shoes, woke Jaycee up and headed out the door for my morning walk all the time thinking why do we go through this every year?
Why do we have Daylight Saving Time?
Daylight saving time is the act of moving the clocks ahead by one hour in the spring giving us an extra hour of light in the evening but robbing us of an hour of daylight in the morning. As a morning person I find this especially hard.
Daylight saving time was initiated in 1916 by Germany during Word War I as a way to conserve coal during the war. Britain, most of its Allies and much of the rest of Europe soon following. The US adopted Daylight Saving Time in 1918.
After the war most countries abandoned Daylight Saving Time. It was brought back every now and then during the decades following WWI. It was implemented again in many countries during WWII and then widely adopted in the 1970’s as a result of the energy crisis. Whether daylight saving time actually saves energy is the subject of much debate.
Walking in the Dark
I know we have discussed this before but it is worth bringing up again now that many of us will be walking in the morning before we head off to work. This is especially true here in Atlanta in the summer when it is often too hot to walk during daylight hours.
Some things to keep in mind when you are walking in the dark:
- Wear Reflective Clothing: I wear a very lightweight vest that fits over my head. I could tie it at the waist but since I don’t have much of a waist anymore I just leave the strings dangling.
- Make your Dog Wear Reflective Clothing: I have both a blinking light and a reflective and light up collar for Jaycee. She wears one or the other. When she wears the blinking light she can become obsessed with the fact that she is blinking so we normally go with the collar that has a little battery pack on it.
- Make your own Light: I always carry a small flashlight to help light my way. Not only does it help me see where I am going but it (hopefully) will scare away coyotes and other critters I would just as soon stay away.
- Walk Facing Traffic: It is amazing to me how few people do this. I think dog walkers walk the wrong way because they are trying to keep their dogs from stopping every few minutes to sniff whatever new scents have appeared since their last walk. But it is definitely a safety concern.
- Be Aware of Traffic: It is the law that pedestrians have the right of way but I would not want to test that. There are pedestrian crosswalks all over my neighborhood but you would never know that it is pedestrians that have the right of way. Most cars never even slow down, but in a battle with a car the pedestrian will always be on the losing side so be careful and always yield to traffic.
- Don’t Be Flashy: You want your clothes to be reflective but you don’t want to be reflective. Leave your jewelry at home, it does not help with your walk and it may be tempting to some unsavory characters.
- Always Carry ID: It is unlikely you will ever need it but in the event of an accident it is helpful to emergency personnel to know the name, age, etc. of the person they are trying to help.