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THE INFERNAL EQUINOX

It’s starting…

Trees budding. Robins hopping around the back yard. Ants in the kitchen. All sure signs of spring around my house, and it couldn’t be more welcome. Today, the weatherman is predicting highs in the low 70’s with a guaranteed bad hair day due to windy conditions. Last week we had snow. I’ve lived in Missouri long enough to know this is a normal weather pattern this time of year.

Even as Mother Nature’s pendulum swings between snowflakes and sunshine, people like me, who get spring fever on the day after Christmas, will not have our optimism deterred. Spring is coming, and we don’t want to hear anything different.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, spring in the Northern Hemisphere begins this year on March 20 at precisely 1:14 am EDT, at the time of the vernal equinox. (Equinox is a fancy Latin word meaning equal night.) On that day, “the sun rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west. The day and night are each approximately 12 hours long.”

Approximately?

Reading further, I discover that on March 16th there will be 11:59 hours of daylight and on the 17th there will be 12:02 hours of daylight. So why are we waiting until March 20th to declare spring? By then, we’ll be soaking up a glorious 12:11 hours of daylight. I thought this was science.

Every time I mention planting flowers or pulling my capri pants out of the closet, my daughter, the more literal of my two offspring, reminds me that spring doesn’t officially start until the calendar says it starts on March 20. That may be true – technically.

But I don’t need my daughter, or the calendar, or the Farmer’s Almanac to tell me when spring starts. I can feel it in my bones.