I am told that bringing up the subject of daylight savings time in Saskatchewan “brings out the crazies.”
In celebration of the upcoming summer solstice Friday—or perhaps just because I’m curious to find out what “brings out the crazies” means—I want to talk about it.
The summer solstice is my favourite day of the year. No, I’m not some kind of pagan sun worshipper or witch, I just love the fact it is the longest day of the year. I love it so much, I even picked it as a wedding date so my lovely bride and I could celebrate our anniversary when the duration of daylight is at its maximum
From a scientific point of view, the solstice was one of the earliest things I can remember being intrigued by as a kid. The tilt of the Earth in relation to the sun, its orbit, its spin, the seasons, all predicated on the fact that we live on a dynamic little planet in a remarkable solar system tucked on the outer edges of a wild galaxy in a crazy, vast universe.
My first experience with a really long June 21 was in northern Labrador. The sun did not really go down per se, it just kind of ducked behind the horizon for a couple of hours.
One year in Yellowknife, I worked June 21 until 11 p.m., but was still able to get in 18 holes of golf after work.
Yorkton is above the 51st parallel north. That’s a pretty good ways north. What it means is that the longest day of the year will measure 16 hours 35 minutes and six seconds.
That’s a nice long day. The problem is it starts at 4:34 a.m. and ends at 9:09 p.m. I say that’s a problem because our entire society is based on a work day that runs roughly from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. depending on what line of work you’re in.
Doesn’t it make way more sense that the glorious longest day of the year should run from 5:34 a.m. to 10:09 p.m. (or even better 6:34 a.m. to 11:09 p.m.).
I’m going to give our forebears the benefit of the doubt and suggest that maybe at some time in the past, it made some kind of sense to invent daylight savings time, but in 2013 it is one of the stupidest ideas we have ever come up with.
Now, I’m not advocating that Saskatchewan should conform to the rest of the world and go through the ridiculous bi-annual ritual of springing forward and falling back.
It’s just that I think we’re stuck in the wrong time zone. We should not be on Central Time all year round, we should be on Mountain time.
Let’s not forget, time is a relatively recent, arbitrary invention that is only relevant to one species on the entire planet. Our ancestors—and even a shrinking number of our contemporaries—operated on the movements of the sun and moon, or technically more correctly, the movements of the earth that create the illusion of the movement of the sun and moon.
That was because societies were initially hunter-gatherers then agrarian. We are, by no stretch of the imagination either of those things any more. And for the pockets of people who still are, the hour on the clock is just as irrelevant as it always has been.
If, for example, there was some Bizarro world revolution of night-shift workers that reversed the a.m. and the p.m. farmers would simply become night-shift workers while the rest of us would toil in the dark.
Of course, that’s ridiculous, but for those of us who are tied to the industrial model, who operate on the basis of seconds and minutes and hours, particularly for those of us in these northern latitudes where the summers are short, we should maximize our evenings.