Anyone who hasn’t spent the past four months amassing a small fortune plowing snow has probably had more than enough of what any rational person not directly connected to the skiing and/or snowmobiling industries considers the lengthiest and least attractive of Maine’s four seasons.

This winter has been a brutal one, and given the recent single-digit temperature readings, there’s no end in sight. About the only hint winter may be winding down is the once Rocky Mountain-sized piles of snow in shopping mall parking lots have now shrunken to mere Appalachian levels.

Maine’s geographical location permits few tangible harbingers of spring during the month of March. There’s certainly nothing that compares with what takes place in a tiny southern California village each March 19, when some unfailingly-punctual cliff swallows return from wintering in Argentina and begin rebuilding their nests amidst the ruins of the Great Stone Church inside Mission San Juan Capistrano. This now-famous annual event moved songwriter Leon René to write a little ditty titled “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano” in 1940. Later that year, the Ink Spots recorded the song, which rose to number four on the U.S. charts. Glenn Miller, Xavier Cugat and Gene Krupa all did their own renditions of it shortly thereafter, and a veritable Who’s Who of popular entertainers did versions in the years that followed.

When it comes to marketing the arrival of spring through the music industry, Maine can’t compare with the Golden State. Does anyone seriously think Fred Waring, Guy Lombardo, Pat Boone or Elvis Presley would have ever recorded a hit single about the day each year “When the Sap Comes Oozing from the Trees in Skowhegan”?

Bill Veeck, the baseball executive responsible for, among other things, a 3’7” pinch-hitter going to bat in an official Major League Baseball game in 1951, is also remembered for his take on the arrival of the new season. “The true harbinger of spring,” wrote the one-legged impresario who at one time or another ran the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox, “is not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of the bat on the ball.”

While some picky grammarians may have issues with Veeck’s choice of words (technically a crocus can’t return to Capistrano), his sentiments have always rung true with baseball fans, even though the sound of bat on ball around most of the country these days is no longer a crack but a clink.

Probably the most significant herald of spring in these parts takes place this year on March 9. But Daylight Saving Time, which officially arrives at 2 a.m. this coming Sunday, isn’t likely to warm things much. It will still be frigid when we wake up later that morning, regardless of what the clocks say. Artificially adding an hour of afternoon daylight on the year’s 68th day is unlikely to make Maine less intemperate in March, which begs the question of exactly why DST now starts so early in the calendar year.

According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia whose name in Latin literally means, “Reliable information a good portion of the time,” DST was first proposed by in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist who wanted extra time to collect insects after finishing his day job. However, it wasn’t actually tried until April 30, 1916, and given the identity of the implementers it’s surprising the idea ever took off at all. The first users of Daylight Saving Time were Germany and Austria-Hungary, two countries which were in the process of losing World War I at the time.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill felt that DST created “opportunities for the pursuit of health and happiness among the millions of people who live in this nation.” However, the proposed innovation’s opponents suggested it would allow only certain privileged types to pursue health and happiness, and furthermore, “Daylight Slaving Time” would allow them to do so on the backs of Britain’s already-exploited laborers.

Across the pond from Jolly Olde England, the standardization of DST in America didn’t take place until 1966, and it wasn’t until 2007 that 48 of the 50 United States standardized the second Sunday in March as the official “spring forward” time. From 1987 through 2006, America had set its clocks ahead on the first Sunday in April. Arizona and Hawaii still don’t implement DST. Why not? Ask an Arizonan and/or a Hawaiian.

Better weather is coming to Maine, but not without cost. The first installment: having to endure a truncated (23-hour) “day of rest” this weekend. One minute after 1:59 a.m. this Sunday will officially be 3 a.m. That means those who customarily stay up until 2 in order to watch their favorite infomercials and/or test patterns literally won’t know what they’re missing!

— Andy Young, an English teacher at a York County high school, would prefer hibernation during winter to any resetting of the clocks.