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Late light

Paul E. AnnaAspen, CO Colorado

It’s been feeling a bit like spring these past couple of days. The snow has been crunchy in the morning and soft in the afternoon. The sound of drip, drip, drip hangs below the eaves as winter turns to water on the roofs. The streets are drying out, and the cyclists can be seen getting the kinks out in the afternoons as they leave town and in the twilight when they return.True, we still have some winter to come. With any luck a system spawned in the Gulf of Alaska may be arriving sometime today (bring it on!). But definitely, there has been a turn towards the sun, and we are moving into the next season.For most Americans the first Sunday in April has been the tipping point as we set our clocks an hour forward at 2 a.m., changing to Daylight Savings Time. But this year things have changed. This year the ritual will take place on – are you ready – Sunday, March 11, at 2 a.m. That’s a full three weeks earlier than last year, and it should impact some things around here.For example, those of you who set out to work at 7 a.m. on Friday, March 9, with the sunrise blazing in your eyes, will not need your sunglasses or visor Monday, March 12. That’s because the sun won’t rise over the Aspen Airport until 7:24 a.m. Get ready to rise in the dark again. Just like December.If you’re a competitor in the Grand Traverse, that incredible nighttime cross-country ski race that takes skiers 40 miles from Crested Butte to Aspen over Star Pass, the race this year will be with the sun itself. With a midnight start time and a 6:54 a.m. sunrise on the morning of March 31, the winner may not see the light of day before completing his or her appointed rounds.And what about skiers? If you are used to getting up on March mornings at say 10 a.m., so you can let the sun soften the overnight crunch a little, do you now go out at 11? And how about the end of the day? Will Aspen Skico extend lift hours until, say, 4:30 p.m.? How about 5? If not we’ll have lots of light late in the afternoon to do other things as the sun will not set until 7:10 p.m. on the 12th with ambient light hanging around until beyond 7:30.Keep in mind, this does not constitute longer days. It is just a shuffling of time by our leaders in Washington who instituted the Energy Act of 2005. The act also mandates that we will not turn back to “regular time” until Nov. 4, a week later than last year, giving us an additional four weeks of Daylight Savings Time. And they say this administration doesn’t have an energy policy.Yes, it seems that only Congress and the president can screw with Mother Nature.


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