Did the Druids Invent Daylight Savings?

It was the dawn of history and the Druids once again gathered around Stonehenge to celebrate the invention of Daylight Saving Time.

Wait. That is not exactly correct. I don’t believe there is any evidence that the Druids ever gave thought to Daylight Saving Time. And I’m not sure they were the ones who loitered around the oldest picnic grounds in England either. But someone went to considerable trouble to celebrate the Summer Solstice by putting those stones in place. For sake of argument, I will give the Druids credit.

Stonehenge, for all its lack of portability, is a remarkable time piece. It has never lost a second. The i-Watch is really only an incremental improvement after all. (Take that Steve Jobs!) Pretty good for a crowd for whom the Kit Cat Klock was only a dream.

The Druids, (you gotta love ‘em) have been sort of a catch all for any practice considered obscure, fantastical, superstitious, or requiring the painting of yourself blue. (Blue Man Group, you are derivative!) They do take considerable heat for their practice of human sacrifice (everyone else was doing it too!). But in their defense, they did know how to plan ahead for a party.

But the point is (really, there is a point), with the rise of secular humanism, the culture has been leached of meaningful holidays. People are not satisfied with the vague and PC “Holiday Season” which has taken on the trappings of jockeying for last minute tax write-offs more than anything suggested by a word whose etymology is “Holy day”.

Since the pagans among us already have claimed the solstices (have they glommed onto the equinoxes too?), Christmas has become passé, Hanukkah is too exclusive, Ramadan leaves me unsatisfied and Kwanzaa is a little too prefab (ask me again in the next millennium), the hoy polloi are in clamoring need of a holiday on which to hang our spiritual hats. Even the secular President’s Day is a hybrid of Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays. Who takes that seriously?

Yes, I know, Daylight Saving Time is controversial. It drifts from one month to another. Standard time is becoming an afterthought. What does it all mean?

In the ‘60s, when the Daylight Saving Time movement really took hold, people rebelled. Whole states refused to cooperate and refused to adjust their clocks in protest of the ‘Communist conspiracy’. The U.S. became a patchwork of mini-time zones. Chaos ensued for anyone daring to drive across country. Every time some hapless traveler crossed a state line a frantic scramble ensued to set the car clock right. Hawaii is the only hold out, claiming exemption since they are permanently on Aloha time.

I grew up in farm country. I’ll never know if the writer of the letter to the editor was joking, but he claimed that Daylight Saving Time made his cows cranky because they had to get up an hour early for milking. Well I say, those cows can just deal with it like the rest of us. That’s what coffee is for, damn it.

Incidentally, I am one of the few people I know who has actually milked a cow. We are so far removed from these basic life experiences. For me, it was on a school field trip and each student got to take a turn for a couple of squirts. Ahhh, back to the land and all that.

You may scoff but my daughter told me her high school econ class was filled with students who were amazed to find that eggs come, not from the store, but from chickens! Who knew?

I submit that we have become so abstract in our understanding of how the world works, it wouldn’t surprise me if more people didn’t drown in a rain storm from looking up to see who turned on the sprinklers.

If you think that is far-fetched, my home town was one of the prime turkey producing towns in Minnesota. (Ask me about feather burning day when the wind shifted.) It would be huge news when some turkey farmer didn’t get his birds into their coop before a rain storm. A few thousand turkeys who didn’t get the memo might look up at the rain and tragically drown. Farmers have been wiped out from such events. Turkeys have been bred for their tastiness not for intelligence. And regardless of the weather, don’t bother asking them what time it is.

In any case, before the period of Daylight Savings expands to include the whole year, we should lock in the dates and create new holidays to replenish our rapidly diminishing supply. There are those who would protest that it is a moral hazard and that you cannot permanently borrow an hour. My answer to that is there are three barely used hours out in the Atlantic that wouldn’t be missed. We could use one of those and still have two to spare.

A Druid wizard like Merlin could handle that in no time.

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