Saturday, February 28, 2015

A spring by any name will not necessarily feel as sweet.

March 1st is the first day of spring.  Meteorological spring that is.  There are two first days of spring and I had to look up the exact definitions to get the idea clear in my mind. Meteorological seasons are split into four periods each three months long.  These conform to our Gregorian calendar.  Somehow this makes it easier for weather people and statisticians  to compare seasonal statistics and forecasts.  In some parts of the US, meteorological seasons may be accurate but the farther north one goes, the  more inaccurate they seem to be.  

The astronomical seasons are determined by the earth's elliptical orbit around the sun and the first day of spring begins on March 20 (the spring equinox) and runs to June 21. This is the more accurate definition of spring in the north because it is related to the changing orientation of sun which is what drives the warming of the earth. Friday we had the coldest day of the year 25-degrees below zero.  That doesn't sound like three days before spring.  

So tomorrow when all the TV weather forecasters are talking about the first day of spring, I will not pay much attention.  There is something dispiriting about nasty blizzards with a foot of snow which always come in March after the first day of meteorological spring.  I will know it's spring the same way people have known and celebrated for centuries.  Not by a calendar but by the spring equinox.  

This is the tunnel that leads to the bird feeders.

Cold feet.

Where am I and where is the back door?

  Toby serves as my resident groundhog.  If he goes outside and there is snow on the ground, he proclaims it isn't spring yet.