Saturday, 2 October 2010

This is the last morning

of "real" time. Tonight we "spring back" and tomorrow we will be on summer time or daylight saving.
It has been just light enough in the early mornings for me to see without turning the light on when I get up. Now it will be dark again.
I do not like daylight saving at this latitude. I am a morning rather than an evening person. I have to be. My job demands it but I also like the almost solitude of early morning. I like the freshness of the day, the anticipation of the new page to be filled.
When I was almost five we returned to the city. That magical summer we lived mostly with my paternal grandparents in a seaside suburb. Early each morning my grandfather would put me on his shoulders and take my brother by the hand and, in silence, we would go down the jetty road to the beach. My grandfather would then give each of us a swimming lesson before leaving us, quite safely, to paddle "up to our knees" while he swim out some distance and back again.
There would often be other people on the beach taking an early morning dip. They would be acknowledged but never spoken to. The beach was an almost silent place at that hour. There would be a light swish of the waves and the occasional call of a seagull but little more. Even my brother and I had little to say to one another at that hour. It was enough to be there.
My grandfather was "an iceberger" - someone who swam year round. Even when he finally moved into the nursing home section of the small hospital along the foreshore he swam in summer. His eyesight was not good enough to cross the increasingly busy road safely but one of the staff going off duty would see him safely across. He would take his dip in the sea and then wait until someone could see him safely across the road again. So many people knew him he never had to wait for long. People would even stop their cars and see him across the road before going on their way.
He needed that morning swim. It was not just about the exercise or the independence but about the semi-solitude. It was, although he would never have put it into those words, his time of meditation. We knew better than to talk. We never disobeyed my grandfather. He was mid-Victorian in his outlook and expectations but we also knew he loved us.
He also taught us to love those early mornings, the semi-solitude, the quiet time. He taught us by example to prepare for the day ahead.
It is one of the things I have missed most in my adult life. Yes of course there are still the same number of hours in the day. Yes of course things can be done after breakfast, after school, after work. There really should not be any difference to what we achieve in the day. The aim of daylight saving is to achieve more.
Somehow it does not work that way.

6 comments:

jtwebster books said...

Thanks for sharing about your Grandfather's early morning swimming. What a wonderful way to start the day. We could all take a leaf from his book. This modern world is in such a rush.

In NZ we started day light saving last weekend - first week of school holidays. It gives us a couple of weeks to get used to it before we're back to early mornings again.

catdownunder said...

This is the October "long weekend" for Labour Day in Australia - but not all of Australia has daylight saving - the Western Australians had the good sense to vote against it!
It makes sense in more extreme latitudes. At this point on the planet it is really rather silly, especially with our hot summers!

Anonymous said...

You know my views Cat! It is a mad idea - brings on a version of jet lag and I have to spend more time out in the heat. Bob C-S

Sheep Rustler said...

Personally I enjoy daylight saving because we can eat outside in the evenings and it is safer for my teenagers if they are coming home from an activity before dinner. But I fully understand why many people hate it.

Donna Hosie said...

I'm a morning person too. I usually wake at five and achieve so much before I head out to work at eight.

This morning I wake up at five, but really it is six. I'm already confused!!

catdownunder said...

My father is really feeling it. Meals are at the wrong time. He did get to church on time but the congregation was so small he is sure that some people slept in!
We don't like eating outside - but we really have nowhere to do it either.
What irritates me is the loss of my early morning time to get things done without interruption!