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Spring!

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Last week, I was sad to realize that I had completely failed to notice the Spring Equinox as it went by.

I was going to post about it a week late, but then I did some research and discovered that the first day of spring came a couple of weeks late this year--maybe something to do with the change in the Daylight Saving date? I'm not sure.

Anyway, so this year today is the official first day of spring. Happy spring!

(As noted in The Straight Dope 25+ years ago, the traditional start date for spring in the US is pretty arbitrary and has no particular scientific basis, so it's no real surprise that they decided to change it this year.)

In celebration of spring, and with apologies to Southern Hemispherians, here's a repeat of my favorite bit of Swinburne:

For winter's rains and ruins are over,

And all the season of snows and sins;

The days dividing lover and lover,

The light that loses, the night that wins;

And time remember'd is grief forgotten,

And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,

And in green underwood and cover

Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

—Algernon Charles Swinburne, from "Atalanta in Calydon"

For more spring versifying, see my 2002 equinox entry (featuring Horace/Housman and a link to Eliot) and Twig's 2008 equinox entry (featuring Mahler and Roethke).

2 Comments

Interestingly, the change in the official first day of spring this year is the result of a much more fundamental change that may soon affect us all. Official days such as the first day of spring are set by the U.S. Naval Observatory. Until this year, the USNO operated on the Julian calendar, like most Western countries and their agencies. However, in keeping with its mission to provide accurate celestial navigation data, the USNO has recently elected to switch to operating on sidereal time. The result is a change in the scheduling of the official days the USNO has responsibility for. The first day of spring is one of the more obvious; very few people are aware that, since last summer, Arbor Day is now officially celebrated on whatever day one's mother-in-law was born.


Happy spring!


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