My favorite day of the year is the day we set our clocks back and go off Daylight Savings Time (D.S.T.). That extra hour in the day is precious and while my family enjoys the extended sleep time, I rise at my normal early hour. I cherish the serenity of the morning to peacefully read the Sunday New York Times and eat a quiet breakfast, accompanied only by my feline companions.
This year was a bit different as I spent the last two weeks in Israel where D.S.T. ended during my visit on Sunday October 27th. For many years and to the chagrin of many Israeli's, D.S.T. ended at an absurdly early time of year, varying from early September to October, depending upon who was in the controlling coalition of the Israeli Parliament. Israel's government works on a coalition basis and when the ultra orthodox have a say, the D.S.T. period was very short. The rationale for this practice was that longer days made religious practices more difficult. Certain rituals in the Jewish religion rely upon sunrise and sunset and the argument was that morning prayers could only begin after sunrise and with D.S.T., saying one's prayers, and getting to work on time would be difficult. When the secularists were more influential, either in the political coalitions or the Interior Ministry that controls the clock, the length of D.S.T. was longer. Previously D.S.T. in Israel varied from 42 days to 185 days. This year the Israeli parliament extended the D.S.T. season to 212 days and so on October 27th the clocks were set back.
Most Israelis do not pray every morning and according to a May 2013 poll 73 percent of Israelis wanted to extend the D.S.T.to enjoy activities during their daylight hours. They are increasingly impatient with the dictates of the orthodox element that comprise a significant number of seats in the parliament and thus form coalitions for influence.
So it came to pass that I was in Israel last Sunday night/Monday morning when the clocks moved back an hour and we had a 25-hour day. Actually I left Israel early Monday and spent all 25 hours flying back to LA, in the air or in transit as I connected flights in London. I was disappointed that I lost my extra hour and couldn't use it to walk on the beach, or to sit at a café or to visit with friends. As I traveled on my long journey I passed through 10 different time zones and my body lost track of what time it was, what meal I should be eating and even when it was time to sleep. By the time I arrived back in LA I had lost the extra hour over the Mediterranean Sea or Greenland or Canada, or somewhere along the route that my plane took.
It is rare that one gets a chance to regain time. It happens once a year when we set the clocks back, but time is a phenomenon that continually moves forward, without regard to one's desire to capture it or even slow it down. This year is unusual and I am fortunate to gain an extra hour for a second time this year when LA sets its clocks back and resumes standard time this weekend. I am excited by this unique opportunity, but then I realize that we gain the extra hour at 2:00 a.m. If I am lucky, the best thing that could happen would be, that I would conquer my jet lag and get a full night's sleep.