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Spring Back, Fall Forward
Spring back, fall forward. That’s the mnemonic device I use to remember how to set the clocks around daylight savings. And it’s worked pretty well all these years.

Sort of. To be honest, I guess I’d have to say that there are times when something goes haywire with this system. Well, every time, actually. Usually, all my clocks end up two hours off for a few days afterward. I must be doing something wrong, I suppose.

Eventually, I end up looking at my computer and set all my clocks to that time, and I’m fine after that. It’s pretty frustrating, but I figure it doesn’t really matter anyway. Time, after all, is a purely human construct. You won’t find Mother Nature looking at her Bulova to see what time to start Spring. You won’t find Satan checking his Rolex Submariner to count the seconds until the Apocalypse. And I don’t think God will be setting his Westclox Big Ben to remind Him that it’s Judgment Day.

We are the ones who need time — to help us keep the order of events straight, to measure change, and to know when to take the souffle out of the oven. The rest of the universe runs in spite of time, not because of it. Mother Nature, for instance, relies on a whole system of complex organic markers when deciding to pull the trigger on that first robin or crocus or high country thaw. It’s a process more complicated than mere humans can understand. She’s plugged into the cosmic All One in a way that we never will be.

Even the world we do understand seems to defy the precise demands of time. We know that time flies sometimes; at other times, it crawls. They have yet to make a clock that can measure those kinds of variables. And when we go fast, those same clocks will record different times than other clocks record when we are standing still. And when we approach the speed of light, time will seem to stop altogether. My Timex would be irrelevant in such a situation.

So time is a made-up thing. It has no inherent importance other than what we assign to it. And so it is with Daylight Savings Time.

I will not give up on my mnemonic helper, because I am determined to get it right. Spring back, fall forward — it’s so simple! Next Fall for sure! Not that it matters.

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