Put time on our side

March 13, 2001 11:00 pm

What is time?

In asking, our aim isnt to prompt navel gazing, grape eating and toga wearing.

But it is a philosophical question.

Absent clocks, we could measure time by the rise and fall of the sun; the cycles of the moon; or the changing of the seasons.

However, our modern life has solidly regimented and manipulated time to serve our purposes.

It is a complex system, measured by an array of very precise atomic clocks located at laboratories scattered around the globe.

And it is a system so handily under our command that it is reducible to a form that can wrap around our wrist.

We would like to suggest exploring one possible further manipulation, a sort of wrinkle in time: adjusting the boundaries of Pacific and Mountain time to move the whole of Baker County from the former to the latter.

Establishing and maintaining the boundaries of the eight time zones of the United States and its territories is the responsibility of the Department of Transportation.

But that has nothing to do with time travel, and everything to do with shipping goods via railway and truck.

The Secretary of Transportation is directed to define the limits of each time zone having regard for the convenience of commerce and the existing junction points and division points of common carriers engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, and any such order may be modified from time to time.

Well, maybe it is time.

Baker isnt a major departure point or destination for rail or truck shipping, save for after harvest or a cattle sale.

And our tourist economy would arguably benefit from Mountain Time, which would synchronize our clocks with Boise, our largest visitor market, and extend the daylight for visiting anglers, hikers and skiers.

Consider: Yesterday, the sun set at 5:55 p.m. Pacific Time.

Under Mountain Time, that would have been 6:55 p.m. By the time we spring forward off of Daylight Savings Time at the start of April, sunset under Mountain Time would come after 8 p.m.

For the country folks who measure their work day by the rise and fall of the sun, such a change wouldnt make much difference. You might miss some television programs, but if you are busy farming, you might miss those programs regardless of what time the sun sets.

For the town folks who work the standard 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. business day, however, Mountain Time would mean more sunlight for family time, yardwork and other outdoor endeavors of the evening.

It is just an idea.

Because for every hour we delay sunset, we invite darkness to linger longer into our day.

Sunrise this morning was at 6:05 a.m. Under Mountain Time, that would have been a tolerable 7:05 a.m.

In deepest, darkest December, however, the sun wouldnt rise until almost 8:30 a.m. although the sun would set on the shortest day of the year just past 5 p.m. instead of 4 p.m.

Certainly, it is worth talking about, even just as the idle daydreaming of desk-bound outdoors enthusiasts.

But in the final analysis, go take a walk through our beautiful Baker Sports Complex.

Look West.

Look East.

Do you see the Pacific?