Spring Equinox 2013

Happy first day of spring. How welcome this season of birth and renewal! Today the sun travels—as it appears to the eye—past the equator on its way 23.5 degrees north to the tropic of cancer, where it celebrates the summer solstice before turning around again and heading back toward the equator for the autumnal equinox. EarthSky has a good primer on the cosmic motions, for those who’d like to brush up on their basic astronomy.

the schema of equinoxes and solstices

the schema of equinoxes and solstices

Locally, in our neck of the woods (western North America), the days grow longer and warmer, the snow melts, the mud thickens, plants come back to life or push forth tenderly from the soil for the first time, deer migrate back onto the mountain after wintering in the valley. The birds bring song back to the woods, and the first few insects buzz blindly around; while sitting, I notice them bumping into the windows.

I have been finding it useful to bring the cosmic and local together in my planning.  The equinoxes and solstices are natural and fitting times to mark beginnings and endings. A season is a goodly lot of time to begin (and possibly complete) a project. And each of the seasons has its own character and resonance, suggesting it as a good time for some things and not for others. (If archetypyes don’t spring to mind, go look at Google’s collection of images for each of the seasons. Actually, just go look anyway. Google “vernal equinox images”.)

from Google's collection of vernal-equinox images.

from Google’s collection of vernal-equinox images.

If you don’t already do so, you might try making the seasons more prominent in the calendar of your life and days.  Apart from whatever reasons the rational mind can come up with, who knows what allies we may gain by aligning ourselves with the seasons, the natural cycles of life, planet, and star? There are, after all, many forces in heaven and earth we still don’t understand; and besides, we’re not so entirely the masters of our fates as we may like to think.  One last thing: for a very long time we human beings have found these transitional days a great excuse for a party.

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