I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spring ahead, fall back

Fog, ferns, and stones
I woke this morning at the usual time, but the usual time had changed. Last night our clocks, those that are automatic at least, like my computer and radio-controlled clock next to my bed, all lost an hour. That phrase, "spring ahead, fall back" helps me to remember what will be happening. It seems like we spend very little of our days in PST (Pacific Standard Time) these days, with most of it in PDT. We will change back to PDT the second Sunday in March 2014. That means four months of "standard" time and the rest in Daylight Saving Time. I'm all for saving daylight, especially here in the Pacific Northwest, where our days shorten to just over eight hours in midwinter.

I checked all the automatic clocks as soon as I woke, since if they don't move, it's time to change the batteries. They all made the change. I awoke on this night last year and realized it was almost time for the change, so I got out of bed and went into the living room at midnight. The clock's hands started moving fast, going forward, until they had traveled 11 hours. I wondered if the hands might move backwards, but of course they can't do that; they, like us, only travel one direction in time.

I have more trouble adjusting to having an extra hour in my day than losing an hour. I don't know why that is, other than the fact that I get up early and go to bed early. I can't be going to bed at 7:00pm, so I'll try to stay awake tonight. And my eyes popped open at 4:00am instead of 5:00 this morning. I tossed and turned and decided what the heck, I'll just get up and start my day.

Of course, my days don't start with me having to do anything other than fix myself a cup of tea, bring it into the bedroom, climb back into bed, open my laptop and start reading the news, blogs, and (on Sunday) write this post. In the summertime, I can hear the birds singing and there's light outside. But in the dark days of fall and winter, everything is quiet. Other than the faraway sound of the occasional train whistle, nothing is stirring at this time. I like it this way; it's my favorite time of every day. Around 6:00-ish, I'll get out of bed, dress, have breakfast and during the week, leave the house right after 7:00 to catch the bus into town.

The activity gives my days a structure that provides me with a great deal of satisfaction. I guess it all started with those years when I had a job and was required to be somewhere at a particular time. In those days, I woke at the same time and was at my desk before anyone else in the office, because that was the time I got the most work done. Once other people arrived and the phones started ringing, it was much harder to stay focused on the task at hand. I was usually working on at least one manuscript or gathering references, something like that. I just realized that I don't miss working one bit. Not that I didn't enjoy my job, but I have substituted other routines into my days, and it works just fine.

Nobody is keeping track of what I do with my days any more. I don't get a paycheck, and nobody is forcing me to catch the 7:22am bus. But it gives me pleasure, and I enjoy being a regular at the coffee shop, a regular in the gym class, and a regular on the bus. I suspect that everyone else at the bus stop on a dark rainy morning is going to work or class, not going somewhere because it gives their day a structure. By noon, I have returned home and will putter around, sit down with a good book, or climb in my car and run errands. By 4:00pm, it's time to have a glass of wine and start the evening part of my day. Somewhere during these days, I spend several hours talking with my partner or watching favorite TV shows together. He lives his life the way he wants, and I live mine, but we really enjoy our together times, too. It works out great, and we are both very grateful to have found each other. Sometimes I am amazed at how free of friction our life together is.

I do spend more time that I should with my electronics. I like being connected to the wider world, and I will read the blogs I follow and the news, a few editorials that I like, and (as always) the comics. I have one laptop window dedicated to them (Doonesbury, For Better or For Worse, Zits, Baby Blues, Pickles, and Monty), and once I've done everything else, I open that window and usually have a chuckle or two. That's the signal that it's time for me to close the laptop and move on to other things.

I suppose if I were to look closely at the way I structure my days, I might wonder if I should be spending time volunteering to an important cause, or perhaps making a difference in the world around me. The news sometimes causes me anxiety, because this world we live in needs people who are willing to make it a better place. I've got the ability but not the willingness. Am I wrong? Should I be living my life differently? Sometimes I really wonder about this.

Well, this day of falling back, rather than springing ahead, has become one of contemplating my daily life. I've done that today, using my extra hour to think about where I'm going and sharing it with some of my favorite people: my regular readers. That reminds me of one thing I haven't mentioned: writing blogs, especially this one, gives me so much satisfaction and a purpose to my days that I almost forgot to notice it! How I would miss it if it were not here. And how I would miss you if you were not here, either.

But you are, today. And so am I. Be well, give your loved ones a special little hug for me, and I'll see you here next Sunday, if all goes as planned.


Mersad said...

I guess we all need some time for reflecting now and again. And that's very important. I just discovered your blog, and I'm following now. If you find the time, come check out my photo blog too.

Mersad Donko Photography

Deb Shucka said...

Maybe if you're thinking it's time for a change, it is. That doesn't meant what you've done before is wrong. Lovely, thoughtful post.

For me the fall back time is so much easier than the spring ahead, which throws me for days.

Rian said...

DJan, After reading your blog this morning, I thought of this post that I read yesterday by Cait O'Connor. She wrote a poem that could have been meant for me ... as well as possibly yourself... and others. You might want to read it . Here is the web address: www.caitoconnor.blogspot.com

Sandi said...

My morning started an hour earlier (by the clock) than usual also. My internal clock is set, and there is no getting around it. Some days I read, or write, and some days I actually fall back asleep. Not today!

Instead, my thoughts were on where we were last weekend, remembering the camaraderie and laughter, which made me think about how grateful I am that we found each other.

Your reflective "eye on the edge" has put me in a contemplative mood, thinking about how I spend my days.

I am always impressed with your strength, and stamina, and how brave you are. Take care, DJan!

Anonymous said...

I chuckled when I read that you enjoy looking at the comics, something I never do. Oh, I like seeing one picture with caption, but dislike looking at strips. Don't know why. I guess I like my humor short, crisp and witty. Here in Hawaii, we don't change our clocks at all. It is rarely gloomy here. Lots of sunshine for everyone!

Cait O'Connor said...

I am feeling so pleased for three reasons; one that you visited my blog, two that I have found yours which is wonderful and three that I can read it regularly every Sunday from now on - as well as spend time catching up on what I have missed in the past. I have Rian to thank for this.

Gigi said...

I also make time every day to read the comics in the paper - we have the same taste, I like them all with the exception of two, which aren't in our paper. Despite my love of electronics, I do enjoy perusing the paper every morning.

I don't think you are wrong to not volunteer. If your heart isn't in it then it would be a chore. I think if you found something that you were passionate about then you would be more willing.

Besides, you brighten the day for everyone you meet - virtually or in real life. And that, my friend, is priceless.

Have a great week!

Glenda Beall said...

I enjoyed reading this post and your reflections on your life. I have done some of that today having spent all weekend with a friend of thirty years. Our lives took different paths, but now she and I are both alone having lost our husbands recently. We picked up as if we had seen each other last week. Both of us eager to share and to listen.

Red said...

I like your reflective posts. It makes me stop and think about some of the things that go on in life.
I'm someone who's on automatic pilot. I'm not that big on regimen...I had too much of that in the classroom.
Now I'm wondering about this loss of an hour in the day? So do we have a 23 hour day in some parts of the world like Bellingham? You can hit me now for that one.

Sally Wessely said...

DJan, you are full of surprises. I didn't know you read cartoons on your computer. Love that!

I wish I had your schedule. I struggle with schedule so much. I know you go to bed early. A favorite memory will be of you snuggling up next to me on the day bed at Lavender Hill and snoozing. It was early, way to early for me to be thinking of going to bed, but you have your internal clock and you were ready to sleep.

I also know you get up early. When we are at Lavender Hill, I am a bit envious of the morning you had up and beginning the day while I slept. I know that early hours of the day are the best. I do love them when I manage to get out of bed early.

Keep on with your schedule and living your life as you do. It is satisfying to you. It inspires others.

Lorna said...

As usual, you wrote an interesting post You are an inspiration to me.

Linda Reeder said...

You are a moring person and I am more of a night person. We stay up late, often reading in bed till midnight after turning off the TV downstairs at 11:00. I do enjoy the morning, though, and I like to get moving and get busy when I get up. My days are pretty active, as you have probably noticed.
I do like that you shared your daily routine. I can picture you going about your days.
I sometimes wonder if I should be doing something more important too, but I did do that for many years as an educator, not to mention being a mother. Now, still a mother, and a grandmother, as well as a wife and friend and extended family member, I guess I'll just consider everything I do "important" in some way. Thanks for causing me to come to that conclusion! You are so good at provoking thought in your readers.

CiCi said...

The time change does take adjusting. Like you, I can't keep my eyes open at night trying to stay up a little later and then I pop out of bed at 0-dark-hundred.
Have been up since 5 this morning, and will slow down this afternoon and fight to stay up tonight again. But no matter what time the clock says, I am happy to be alive and living a great life.

Rita said...

I've never understood daylight savings time and moving time back and forth. There's still only the same number of hours the sun is out no matter if we try to pull them up or push them down the clock face. It is so "human" to want to alter the very movement of the sun to our liking--LOL! ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jan,
I enjoyed reading your latest post and will look forward to more. Reflective on a useful day for reflection. CT :-)

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Thoughtful post. In many ways, blogging can be a kind of service - you're imparting information and experiences that may prompt your readers to think differently about the world and themselves.

Mel said...

I love your morning routine. Funny, a train whistle was the only sound in my morning as I read about your train whistle! I have trouble adjusting in the fall too, I think it's that abrupt loss of evening daylight time. My afternoons feel off kilter and I keep reminding myself what time it would be if we didn't change the clocks.

As always, I love stopping by to share your thoughts and see what lovely pictures you have posted for us. Have a great week.

Friko said...

How pleasant to have that extra hour for a contemplative ramble.

I think you have worked out your life perfectly, why spoil a good thing by altering it. If ever you feel dissatisfied then it’s time to rearrange things.

At 70 we have the right to please ourselves. Just by being around, friendly and willing to lend a hand, if needed, we do good. There’ll be trouble again at some time or other, nothing stays the same for ever. When that time comes we’ll cope with it.

Enjoy your days, enjoy your partner and your life with him and just smile. You’ll be spreading plenty of happiness that way. Smiling is infectious.

Anonymous said...

There need a change in life at a certain time to get relaxed and to do other activities...

O-town Ramblings said...

What a great reflective post. As I read it I found myself envious of your freedom to structure your day as you wish, focusing on doing things that make you happy. That is what I can't wait for when I retire. I long for it.

Your thoughts about whether you should be volunteering struck a chord with me. I've volunteered regularly for over ten years now. It's hard and I devote much of my free time and energy to it, but it's brought me satisfaction for the most part. Now it's becoming a chore. I've realized it's time for me to step back and start allowing myself to have free time. Your blog reinforced this in my mind even more. Thank you.

Haddock said...

The simple things in the bus makes one happy.... being a regular at the coffee shop, a regular in the gym class, a regular on the bus.