Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lost: One Hour

Today we changed our clocks. "Spring forward" is a nice motto, and it's a good memory trick.
The practice of changing the clocks dates back to the first World War, and was a way to maximize energy efficiency. Some people hate daylight savings time, and some people love it. No matter how you feel about it, though, if you forget to change your clocks....well, you spend a lot of time confused.

Everyone always talks about how we "lose" an hour when we set our clocks forward. It's such a sad idea, really, to think of just - poof - an hour gone.

It reminds me how precious time is.
It reminds me how much each minute, each second, each not-lost hour matters.

Time is such a funny idea, really. It's a construct, isn't it? The rabbis created their own setting for time --  basically, they divided each day from daybreak to sunset into 12 equal parts, each one considered a "rabbinic hour" -- these hours are used to determine when one should say each of the various daily prayer services. They're variable, of course, based on the seasons, which is why a person who observes these zmanim (times) needs a specialized listing (or app for their phone) to help keep track. It's also why it's tricky to observe "Jewish time" in a place like St. Petersburg, which is so close to the Arctic Circle. During the winter months, each "hour" is very short. The daylight hours in which to accomplish daytime prayers are minimal! And then in the summer -- the daylight hours never seem to end!

I've often joked at summer camp that we should just set all the clocks on camp to whatever time we want them to be set at. It's such an insulated experience; we could tell the kids they are sleeping until 9am "camp time" and it might only be 8am in the "real world."

When we have control over the time -- why not buy a little extra sleep?
Or at least make it feel as though we're getting more!

We acknowledge the passing of time and in doing so, we sanctify it...we make it holy. We measure birthdays and anniversaries, we pay careful attention to the changing of the year and setting forth the holidays. We celebrate moments, large and small, in order to make something so ephemeral as time a living and sacred part of our lives. Time might fly when you're having fun. But time can be snatched away if we fail to pause and sanctify it.

Yes, we lost an hour this weekend.
And it helped me to remember that time is precious.
It is a is a blessing.

Your wisdom sets the way on which time and season glide;
Your breath guides the sail of the stars.
Creator of the tide of time and light,
You guide the current of day into night.
As heaven spans to infinity,
You set its course for eternity.
(Rabbi Elyse Frishman, in Mishkan Tefillah)

Lost: One Hour -- Arrrrrghhhhhh!!!!!!

1 comment:

Otir said...

What a lovely post about time! It has expressed what I feel about it so well, I could have never said it myself, and I loved reading it. Time is a construct, it is definitely a precious value that we can abuse or misuse, or learn to respect and it gives us so much in return!

Thank you for the lovely post, as always.