In search of ponies: Humans determined to harness time

Oh, so you think you’re a zeitgeber, well who the heck gave you the right to control the universe?

After all, you may not get it, but every pet knows full well the world orbits that bowl on the floor in the kitchen — the rising, and setting, of the sun determined by it being filled in a timely manner.

Now — Sunday to be exact — us humans are about to change the course of things … Again.

Sure, you’ll be waxing eternal to your boss Monday morning as you run for the vehicle with mismatched socks and fly-away hair, but will you tell the dog sorry, not likely.

Instead he’ll be waiting by his bowl at the “real” 5 o’clock, while you spend the next couple weeks in woe-is-me, yawn punctuated whining that you’ve lost sleep.

Do you have any idea how long an hour is in the dog world when there’s food hanging in the balance?

Long, real long.

Of course now the bowl is filled an hour earlier in the morning, but by evening that hardly seems to matter as the anxious minutes of that final hour reveal the torture of it all and it’s not just the pooches and kitties.

Come Sunday evening, fence lines throughout this country will be dotted with the forlorn faces of cattle who made their way in from the fields just to look like extras in the opening scene of some Armageddon type movie — not a farmer in sight.

That’s nothing, however, compared to the inevitable surprise of raccoons and bears, when, in those last bits of darkness before morning, they get busted Dumpster diving — you know, that time when you’re SUPPOSED to be sleeping!

In the natural world there are these elements most all creatures respond to that direct the rhythm of the day. They’re called “zeitgebers” German for “time givers,” and it’s a power humans seem bound and determined to try and harness for themselves.

Why we play this little time game is as simple as it is complicated.

Starting in the first decade of the 1900s western nations began fiddling with the hands on the clock in the interest of maximizing efficiency and minimizing resource consumption, needs compounded with the onset of World War I.

The U.S. was late to the time changing game, finally taking steps to save the day in 1918 — incidentally during an era where Taylorism and Fordism were already looking for spaces to pencil in more hours on the clock and world markets wanted more time for commerce — though that was just a first step toward controlling time as laws proceeded to be written and rescinded, lobbied, and amended.

Even though us American mammals have adapted (accepted may be a better word) and forgotten when times were different, times, they’ve been a changin’ off and on ever since.

Of course there are consequences to playing with time, not the least of which are broadening derriere’s and atrophied muscles.

Yep, confused cows, interrupted scavengers, and neglected pups aside, experts say our season of efficiency is counterbalanced by the off-season and electricity isn’t the only energy we conserve thanks to the shorter days — Our couches, on the other hand, work overtime.

Because if the experts are right, while the pup may have to wait a little longer for his kibble during the adjustment period, theoretically that extra hour of daylight means you’re off the couch and going for an evening jog or tossing a ball in the yard… theoretically anyway.

So don’t forget to move the hands forward Sunday, and if you must play zeitgeber, remember, your dog would probably love some too.