Thursday, March 21, will mark the vernal equinox this year, the time when night and day are very much the same length. If you want to get precise about it, it will happen at 16:57 UTC or 12:57 PM EDT. That’s when the tilt of Earth relative to the Sun is zero, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the Sun. However, the tilt of Earth relative to its plane of orbit, called the ecliptic plane, is always about 23.5 degrees. So much for the scientific side of the equation.
Vernal, which means literally fresh and young and youthful, refers to Spring. This is true in the northern hemisphere where Winter is ending. However, in the southern hemisphere, it is really the autumnal equinox and while the hours of daylight and nighttime are equal there as well, it is the ending and beginning of different seasons. Those of us who live, work and play in the northern half sometimes forget the other half. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere!
I am one of those who follow the sun’s path on the horizon, especially at sunrise and often at sunset. It really does not travel north and south but that is how it appears and that’s good enough for me. This week the sun will be halfway on its journey north and we will soon follow it north in real time as the temperatures warm up a bit more to our liking. Right now, at 8:22 Monday morning, March 17, here in Key West, it is 75 degrees and the tropical breeze suits me just fine.
Find what you can in your world to celebrate the arrival of Spring. For a long time, I associated Easter with Spring and then had that realization that it was biased toward the northern half. Regardless, Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox and whether or not you celebrate Easter or Passover (the origin of Easter) or Ostara or some other tradition in Buddhist or Hindu calendars, you might pay homage to your own gods or goddesses that bring so many blessings of the seasonal change. After all is said and done, one more time, it’s about change. Embrace it!