Sunday Opinion 24 Hours Late: Fall Back

When I opened my eyes this morning, my first thought was that today was the day I needed to fall back.   Fall back, as in daylight savings time.  I think the big idea is to save, preserve, or otherwise ensure more daylight by changing the time.  So when I woke up at 5am old time, it was really 4am new time.  4am is really too early to get up-even for me.  So I laid in bed, eyes wide open, until 5 am, the new time-which would have been 6 am yesterday. In bed at 6 am-the thought horrifies me.  How will I ever be ready to face the day with so little time?  I fed the dogs at 6am-they were fussing, as they usually have breakfast by 7am.  I left for work shortly after the new 7am, which was now shortly after the old 6am.  It was indeed very dark.

Angie was scheduled to come in today-we have a lot of work to do before our holiday open house this coming Thursday.  The old 9am is now 10am-it felt like she got to work in the middle of the day.  By 4pm the new time, the dogs were overdue for their 3pm afternoon dinner.  They both came to my desk, staring and glaring as if I had violated their routine.  It is very hard to explain daylight savings time to a pair of corgis.  By the 4pm Sunday close of the shop, which would have been 5pm yesterday, I was tired.

If you are having trouble following this train of thought, you have company. The one hour change in the time will dog me for several weeks, before I adjust.  Don’t hold me to anything I have said in the past few paragraphs.  I have a hard time adjusting to even a small change of pace when I am busy.

Why would I make such a fuss about this?  The beginning of our gardening season is not solely about temperature.  Day length is a trigger for many plants.  Growers schedule their work around that biologically driven clock.  A biological clock?  A biological clock is set to record metabolic changes, sleep cycles, or photosynthesis.  The aforementioned-from the dictionary.  I have an internal clock set in tandem with the time.  When the time changes arbitrarily, I am thrown off course.  The loss of that hour in the fall-an adjustment that is a rude imposition.

Rob travels all over the globe to shop for Detroit Garden Works.  He does not buy on line.  He shops in person.  Whether it is Los Angeles, or London, or Impruneta, Italy, or Brazil or Belgium,  he routinely flies back and forth across multiple time zones.  He spares me the gory details of the personal cost of giving a few hours up here, and the consequences of adding a few hours there. He manages to make the travel look manageable.  I know better.  Traveling across multiple time zones takes courage and time to resolve.  He is unwilling to give in to the disruption of his internal clock.

Today I have abandoned the fall, and anticipate the the beginning of winter. By this I mean the coming of the dark time.  The winter season in Michigan is notable for its gray days, its early nights and its late mornings.  I have a few weeks ahead of waking up at 4am instead of 5am.  I will be tired at 5pm, as my biological clock will insist it is 6pm.  What a shocking difference an hour makes.  The little details-they matter much.

This coming Thursday night is the opening of our winter/holiday open house weekend. This is the only evening event we host all year.  The following Friday, Saturday and Sunday we will have lots of guests start to finish.  We serve treats and coffee.  I love that lots of clients bring their kids-they are the gardeners of the future.  Gardeners for the future-I support this.  What began 10 years ago as a modest campaign to get Michigan gardeners to fill their containers for the winter season , rather than leaving them empty and forlorn for our winter six months in length, has grown.  Our winter season is every bit as big as our spring season.  What I love the best-the camaraderie generated by the coming of the cold, the waning of the garden, and the prospect of the holidays.  This is the most good natured season of the gardening year.  Everyone knows the stakes are high, and the winter time will be tough and long.  All of us gardeners share that.

We have scheduled our open house a week early this year, as Thanksgiving falls as late as it can possibly be.  There are boxes everywhere-waiting for someone to unpack them.  We have gardens to clean up, the terra cotta at the shop to put into storage, and company coming in 3 days.  The 20 of us will do the best we can to bring a good end to the garden, and be ready to embrace the coming season.  Exciting times, yes.  As for daylight savings time-we are chasing the clock.  Gardening-the best venue for drama that I can imagine.


  1. Yvonne Horton says

    My sentiments exactly. As I read your post I giggled recognizing myself in your story. I needed the amusement of another gardener as I spent the day raking leaves. I don’t know where all those leaves come from. Thank you for making me smile in this glorious day in Tennessee.

  2. I completely get it! You explain it better than I have ever heard it!

    It feels like jet-lag to me! Wine at 5?? oh dear!!!

    I LOVE your blog!!!

  3. Jean Guest says

    This was such a funny post. By the time you had finished to-ing & fro-ing with the time changes I couldn’t remember what time zone you were in and I live in the UK!

    Like you I too find the time change irritating – when you get to a certain age you do become set in a routine and lose a bit of flexibility both with time and body too. Plus, like your Corgis, Bob the cat is completely confused.

    Good post Deborah as always.


  4. Love this post! Would love to know how you manage the energy to be up and at ’em so early in the day at this time of the year…here in the middle of the Canadian prairies the time doesnt change – so I don’t have the excuse of having my internal clock being thrown off, but none-the-less I am thrown off by the shortness of the days..and it is still six weeks till official winter! I’m going to make myself some coffee right now and get going!!

  5. Haha I said the same thing: “try explaining to a puppy that she has to eat one hour later”. It’s funny isn’t it? So many people love to fall back and hate to spring forward. I find the fall back much more jarring than the spring forward. I live in Columbus, OH and am trying to figure out if I can arrange coming to the open house on Thursday. I just hope I don’t show up an hour early.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Stephen, if you show up an hour early, you will be fine! I get to work about 6:30 am-I can let you in any time after that. If you come, be sure to find me, so we can meet in person. Thanks, Deborah

  6. Dear Deborah,
    OK! Now we can add comedian to your vast list of skills and knowledge. This blog really made my day. It’s the little things in life that really matter the most. We too found ourselves trying to explain the “Daylight Savings Thingy” to our 14 year old Miniature Poodle that treat time is now an hour later in the evening. I am still getting the cold shoulder. 🙁 Needless to say, she loves Springtime just like her Dad! 🙂 Thanks for the smiles!

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