“Time is a brisk wind, for each hour it brings something new … but who can understand and measure its sharp breath, its mystery and its design?”
~ Paracelsus, Renaissance alchemist, physician and philosopher
This Sunday, Nov. 6, we once again change our clocks back to Pacific Standard Time. Rarely do you hear enthusiasm over this task. I am certainly no exception with my favorite time being a “summer evening!” Don’t misunderstand, I welcome the energy and excitement that comes with the changing seasons, especially the variety of weather. Bring on the drenching rains and the howling winds! Lightening that lights up the sky and thunder that shakes the house, are all good. But getting dark by 5 p.m. is really not okay, but thankfully “this too shall pass.”
A few weeks ago, I was shopping at a local drug store. While waiting for a prescription, I wandered aimlessly and turned down Aisle 4: Seasonal Décor. Hmmm … do we really need another scarecrow, pilgrim or pumpkin around the house? My thoughts came to an abrupt stop mid-aisle. Blocking my way were boxes of Christmas and winter splendor. Their contents were quickly filling the shelves. With Thanksgiving yet to arrive and Santa’s elves working diligently to make their Dec. 24 deadline, why was autumn being pushed “out of the way” so hastily?
Honestly, I don’t have a good answer. It could be seen as rather symbolic of time quickly passing and people hurrying along to keep up. Throughout the ages, people have been perplexed by time.
Early man’s perception of time was based on natural occurrences – periods of light and dark, positions of the sun, moon and stars, animal behavior and weather phenomena. Jump ahead a few thousand years and daily schedules were dictated by crowing roosters, cows mooing, “Get out your bucket!” and church bells.
The real catalyst for synchronized time was the railroads. Then it became necessary for people in small towns to have the exact same local time as the next town along the track, so the train’s arrival and departure was predictable – Standard Time. Were people ever on time before this?
The idea of arriving somewhere at any given time really wasn’t a concern until the late 1800s and industrialization. Before this, “being on time” or “late” were not spoken of. Need to be somewhere by afternoon? Awaken at sunrise, do chores, eat and hitch up the horse and get on the road. Arrival time? No such thing. It was commonplace to just sit around and wait for enough people to start the school day or Sunday sermon. Sounds good to me!
At this current time in our area, the weather shifted to strong Santa Ana conditions with 50 mph gusts and a red flag warning. This is to be short lived, with possible rain in the forecast for Friday and again on Sunday. A cold air mass out of Alaska will bring us days in the 50s and nights in the 40s with snow possible in L.A. county mountains. Burrr … This calls for not only an umbrella, but time in front of the fireplace.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.