Spring Equinox

March 20 2014 spring 002

Such a bright, clear warm day, today, to greet official astronomical spring.

Today is the day of balance, where the hours of light equal the hours of darkness.  Except, not really. 

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The Clematis vine, which looked dead for months, has budded and begun a new season of growth.

The calendars list today as the Vernal Equinox, but actually, it was Monday. 

We’ll be forgiven for not noticing, because Monday was such a cold, wet and icy, overcast day.  It was a thoroughly wintery day, dark and gloomy here.

It was hard to imagine, back on Monday, that the first day of spring was only a few days away.  But sunrise on Monday was 7:05 AM, and sunset, high above the storm clouds came at 7:05 PM.  That would have been 6:05 AM and 6:05 PM had we not already adjusted for Daylight Savings Time.

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And so Monday was the day of balance:  twelve hours of sunlight, and twelve  hours of darkness.  We’ll have such a day again next September.

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But today the sun rose at 7:00 AM, and will set at 7:08.  Doing the math, it appears that our day today will be twelve hours and eight minutes long, and the night will be only eleven hours and 52 minutes.  That is definite improvement!

By the end of the month, the sun will rise at 6:42 AM, and sunset will come at 7:20 PM.

Miniature daffodils bloom beneath a budding rose cane.

Miniature daffodils bloom beneath a budding rose cane.

Our day, by March 31, will be twelve hours and 38 minutes long.  It will increase by a few minutes each day until we reach the summer solstice in June.

Traditionally, the solstice has come on either the 20 or 21 of June.  But this year, our longest days will come on June 21 through June 23, when the days are each  15 hours and 6 minutes long.  We’ll have three days of the solstice, before the days grow shorter again, day by day, through the summer months.  Take a look for yourself at this strangely long solstice predicted for this June.

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Forsythia just opening yesterday, really sparkles in the sunlight today.

But returning to today, it is a beautiful day to celebrate the beginning of spring.

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Daffodils dance in the sunlight on the roadsides all over town.  The first of the tulip blossoms near the post office are showing a hint of red.  Budding trees color the skyline with red and greenish gold as their buds open in today’s warm sunshine.

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I hope that spring has crept into your heart after this long and difficult winter.  I hope something is budding and blooming in your garden, and that the sun’s warmth has touched your skin.

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Coat and hat remained in the closet when we headed out this morning, and the hardware store had racks of bright annuals waiting to go home to someone’s garden.  But none came home to ours.  I expect more freezing weather in the week ahead.

Another snow may or may not fulfill the forecast by next Monday, but today at least, it is spring in Williamsburg.

Happy Spring at Last!

The Clematis vine, which has looked dead for months, has budded and begun a new season of growth.

Violas

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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