We turned out clocks back an hour this weekend in observance of Daylight Saving Time. I, for one, was certainly looking forward to an extra hour of sleep. My cat, Laura, had different ideas. Clock or no clock, her tummy was still on the old time and her internal alarm was going off, saying: "Get up, woman, I'm starving!"
Our ancestors didn't need clocks to tell them when to get up and when to go to bed. Like all other living things on the planet, they rose with the sun, followed it's travels across the sky during the day, had their mid-day meal when the sun was "mid-way," and called it a day when Mother Nature turned off her outside light and turned on the moon and the stars for our nocturnal relatives. We didn't "save" daylight, we used it wisely. Like our crops and our animals, we let nature nurture us, guide us and help us to grow.
Along came the electric light bulb and with it, our ability to manipulate daylight. We stopped trusting nature and started relying on the electric company. Decades later we find ourselves spending endless hours in windowless cubicles under artificial light, staring at lit screens all day, and then we wonder why we're always tired, stressed, out of sorts, and often not knowing if it's day or night until we go outside. One has to wonder not only how unhealthy this kind of lifestyle is, but exactly how productive you think you are when you're forcing your body to go against it's natural rhythms. Is it any wonder that so many people suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) because of a lack of natural light?
Once I got older and was no longer forced to live in the 9 to 5 world, I found that my body slowly started learning to re-adapt to the natural world. I simply could not get up and function before dawn, and discovered myself starting to yawn right after the 6 o'clock news at night. I rose with the sun and the hours between 10 am and 3 pm became my most productive. I felt better, ate better, slept better. I had more energy and smiled a whole lot more. I was more patient with my sweet fur babies. My creative juices flowed more freely. Even more than all of that, I found myself more intimately connected to the rest of the natural world. My non-human neighbors, those of the fur and feather persuasion, and I, greeted each other every morning like old friends, and scurried to get our day's work done before dark. I began to see and feel myself as part of this world-wide community called Earth.
Laura will eventually adapt to the time change, hopefully. Perhaps if I set the example, she'll remember her own inner natural rhythms and follow the sun the way her ancestors did. If that doesn't work, I may have to teach her how to open a can.
And so it is.