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SOUCHERAY: Losing an hour, a sign of spring

Daylight-Saving Time begins this Sunday morning at 2 a.m. It is the day of the year when we "spring ahead," and seemingly lose an hour of that day.

Daylight-Saving Time was instituted during World War I in an effort to save energy consumption, in order to contribute those monies to the war effort. It was reinstituted during World War II for the same reason and was enacted into law in 1966.

Today, Daylight-Saving Time remains a questionable practice and some wonder whether it really does, in fact, save money. It is argued that it would be difficult to measure the amount saved through these means. The thinking is that by moving our clocks ahead, we will take advantage of a greater amount of daylight, thus allowing for a lesser use of energy.

Whatever the reasoning, and whether it really accomplishes its intended objective, Daylight-Saving Time has become a standard part of every spring and fall. We may wonder how we would live without it. The only regions of the country that do not participate in Daylight-Saving Time are Arizona and Hawaii and some Native American properties.

Whatever our beliefs and persuasions regarding Daylight-Saving Time, the mere fact that we have it upon us this weekend is a clear and distinct sign of spring. Hallelujah! The "Pain Index" for this winter reads that we may be turning into wimps.

The Index tells us that this winter was nothing particularly special in the way of pain, and yet it seems that it went on and on and was marked by a greater degree of snow than we have had the past few years. There also seemed to be more complaining about this winter than usual. So whatever the Index says, it seems Minnesotans have a different story to tell. This winter was painful.

Spring is so close at hand and many of us have already heard cardinals singing out in nearby trees. We may not have spotted one yet, but just knowing they are close at hand is a comfort. The night sky is giving way to more spring-like constellations and Orion is waving good-bye for another year. There is still too much snow covering our perennials to see any peeking up, but again, we know they are there and that brings a sigh of relief. Spring is on the way.

Daylight-Saving Time brings a change in how much light we will experience in our waking hours. The days will get longer and it will be lighter into the evening. In fact, as we approach the middle of June, it will be light until nearly ten o'clock. Those will be the nights of kick-the-can and no-ghost-out-tonight. There will be bonfires and roasted marshmallows in the backyard. The neighbors will come out of hiding and gather over the fences again, commenting how much the children have grown.

Daylight Saving Time foretells what is coming. Spring awakens the connection we have with our families. Whether it is cleaning out the garage, going for a family bike ride, or throwing the baseball around the backyard, spring helps us reconnect with the people we love.

As we move into the glorious days of spring and summer, the knowledge of what is most important in life intensifies. It seems we drink it up, in order to fortify ourselves against another long and arduous Minnesota winter.