A Song for Springing Forward


I bought a cheap watch from the crazy man
Floating down Canal;
It doesn’t use numbers or moving hands,
It always just says Now.
Now you may be thinking that I was had,
But this watch is never wrong.
And if I have trouble, the warranty said
Breathe in, breathe out, move on.
And it rained, it was nothing really new.
And it blew, we’ve seen all that before.
And it poured, the Earth began to strain;
Pontchartrain leaking through the door, tides at war.
If a hurricane doesn’t leave you dead
It will make you strong;
Don’t try to explain it, just nod your head —
Breathe in, breathe out, move on.
And it rained, nothing really new.
And it blew, seen all that before.
And it poured, the Earth began to strain;
Pontchartrain buried the Ninth Ward to the second floor.
According to my watch, the time is now;
Past is dead and gone.
Don’t try to shake it, just nod your head —
Breathe in, breathe out, move on,
Don’t try to explain it, just bow your head —
Breathe in, breathe out, move on.
Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.
Henry David Thoreau

Comments always are welcome.

34 thoughts on “A Song for Springing Forward

  1. I can’t claim to have ever been a Jimmy Buffett fan, but I certainly appreciate some of the sentiment behind these lyrics. A couple questions that remain are whether I’ll remember to adjust my clocks until much later, and will it all make me late for work on Monday morning? Regardless of what happens, though, I’ll just breathe in, breathe out, move on.

    1. His early music was everywhere when I began sailing, even though some of my favorites have more to do with life-in-general on the Gulf Coast than with sailing. And, whenever I start questioning my life choices, I give this one a listen, and all is well.

      As for those clocks: I’ve already changed mine. The whole back-and-forth business of time changes is silly, but when it comes to varieties of silliness in the world, it’s too far down the list to worry about.

  2. I have never heard this song. It really rings true for all the natural disasters we have faced in our area. We made it three months without one and hopefully the rest of the year will go well. I printed the lyrics just in case they will be needed.

    1. Having moved past the possibilities of a serious freeze, it is almost time to begin thinking of hurricane prep. With any luck at all, we’ll have an equally benign season, but if we don’t, this song will be in the rotation. In a way, its message echoes the wisdom that Varnish John offered so many years ago as we were recovering from one of our storms: do what you can do, not what you can’t. That applies in a lot of situations, too.

      1. That is more good advice to remember. I seem to find hurricanes even when I’m not home. Last year we drove into Houston from LA with Ida on our tail and we were on the east coast when Irene hit years ago. Hope I do better this year.

  3. I do enjoy Jimmy Buffet songs and this is an awesome one. It’s also wise advice for all times in life, not just natural disasters and time changes. Breathe in, breathe out, move on.

    1. Many of his songs are filled with self-deprecating humor, and at least tacitly acknowledge the absurdity of a fabulously wealthy guy keeping up the beach bum persona, but the whole schtick is a kind of inside joke between him and his fans, and the music is great. Beyond that, he knows the realities of life on the Gulf coast, and knows how to draw larger lessons from those experiences. It’s what allows songs like this one to resonate as they do.

    1. There sure is! I’ve loved this one for years, but never had associated it with the time change until now. When I did, it made me smile, and I thought there might be a person or six who’d enjoy it, too.

    1. I was so fond of the man at the beginning and end of the video, and liked the hurricane footage so much, that I went ahead and used this version, but there’s a different video that’s nicer in some ways. I’ll bet you’ll like it even more.

  4. Great timing for this song of Jimmy’s! We’re under a tornado watch and the temperature will drop 40 degrees over the next 24 hours!

    Jumping back and forth in time twice a year. H.G. Wells would be amazed.

    1. It sounds like our front is making its way to you. Yesterday we had similar weather: a cold front, a thirty degree drop, and 40-50 knot winds. A gale warning’s one thing, but that kind of wind combined with cold is miserable. If only we could jump the weather forward to Spring like we set the clocks forward. I looked at Melbourne’s forecast, and there it was: 77F to 36F in a flash. My sympathies!

    1. All this talk of time and eternity started me thinking about Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet. In the volume titled Balthazaar, a character named Nessim rides out into the Egyptian countryside to visit at a great estate. I always enjoyed this paragraph:

      ““The steward, according to custom, had stopped all the clocks. This, in the language of Narouz, said, “Your stay with us is so brief, let us not be reminded of the flight of the hours. God made eternity. Let us escape from the despotism of time altogether.” These ancient and hereditary politenesses filled Nessim with emotion.”

      A little clock stopping has its place, too!

      1. So it does! And what a lovely quote. Amusingly the very night I made my original comment my radio/alarm clock reset the time to 12.00am, and there it stopped. Of course I didn’t know this because it happened while I was asleep. I went to bed about 3 am and was very disturbed when I woke up and saw the time 12.00 am on the clock. When I came to my senses and realized the clock was faulty I tried and failed, and tried and failed again and again, to reset the clock. The time would not budge. Finally my sister suggested I slap the clock, which I did, and lo and behold the clock began to ‘tick’ again. Moral of the story; I must be careful about what I say on the internet. My clock might hear me.

        1. That’s an amusing story, and a very old-fashioned way of dealing with recalcitrant ‘things.’ I remember one of our family’s early televisions that suddenly would lose its picture and produce nothing but a snowy screen. Somehow, my dad discovered that a sharp whack to its side would set things right, and after we learned the technique, we were able to ‘fix it’ ourselves. As for what’s listening to us, I fear your clock is the least of it.

  5. I’ve long enjoyed Jimmy Buffet songs. There’s just enough wisdom — and plenty of Gulf Coast references — to make me happy. This one is no different. I rather enjoy the “springing forward” portion of this craziness. It’s lots easier to move a clock one hour forward than it is to turn back time!

    1. You’re right. It is easier to adjust to this change, and it certainly was easier for Dixie Rose. In the fall, the clock may have said 5 a.m., but she knew it was breakfast time and wasn’t prepared to wait!

      So many Buffett songs evoke sweet memories for those of us who’ve spent time on the Gulf Coast, or in Florida. Some of his best never got a lot of airplay, but I’d never evacuate without those CDs to keep me company.

    1. I’ll see if I can find the crazy man, and get one of those watches for you. Getting the present as a Christmas present wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world!

    1. Indeed. Still, where there is life, there is hope, however faint or improbable it may seem. And sometimes, it’s stopping to breathe that allows moving on.

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