Spring

The American Heritage Dictionary defines Spring as “the season of the year between winter and summer.” Technically, this is true, but I find this description a little lacking. If you ask a meteorologist about Spring, they will tell you that the year is divided up into 4 seasons, based on the average temperatures. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, this means Spring occurs during March, April and May.

Twice a year, the earth is not tilted either toward or away from the sun, so the nights and days are about the same length. When I was younger, these two events were called the Vernal Equinox and the Autumnal Equinox, but now they are known as the March and September Equinoxes. The reason for the change is that the Southern Hemisphere is the opposite of us, their spring is our autumn. They would experience their Vernal Equinox and we would have our Autumnal Equinox at the same time, which was apparently too confusing.

If everything worked as planned, the March Equinox would be the middle of Spring. But, it takes a long time for the earth to warm up, so it is actually closer to the beginning of Spring. In fact, we consider the day of the March Equinox to be the first day of Spring. That is something else that has changed over time. Years ago, it was March 21, but now it is March 20.

If you ask me about Spring, I wouldn’t need any astronomical or meteorological terms. To me, Spring is when it starts to get warm outside, and the piles of snow finally melt. When I can stop wearing my heavy coat and leave my gloves at home. When the birds start to build nests and I hear the geese overhead. When it is still light outside after we eat dinner, and we can leave the windows open. Most of all, Spring is when the flowers and plants start to appear.

Until about a week ago, the ground was covered with snow outside my house. We’ve had several days now of temperatures in the 40’s and a few nights when it did not freeze. This has made a remarkable difference in the appearance of my yard. When I looked outside today, I was surprised to find that a number of plants had been growing, hidden under the snow. I found daylilies, daffodils, columbine, peonies, poppies, oriental lilies and a single crocus. This, more than anything, is what Spring is all about.

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One Response to “Spring”

  1. Kem Says:

    I heard tree frogs when I got home this evening! 🙂

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