Saturday, March 20, 2010

Equinocturnal Frustrations

Welcome Spring and so forth. I note that the weather, which cooperated magnificently for about the last two weeks of so-called Winter, refuses to smile today. It’s gray out there, cool, and humid. The weather perhaps shares my frustration at six month intervals when it’s time, once again, to celebrate the equinox. I understand this thing perfectly well in conceptual terms. The sun today is directly above the equator, straight up there in the perpendicular. As time now advances, that angle will become more and more acute, the sun appearing north of the equator until the summer solstice on June 21st. After that, back we go again, the angle increasing until the arrival in September—on the 23rd of that month this year—of the autumnal equinox. Thereafter the angle becomes obtuse (from our point of vantage), the sun beaming south of the equator to the delight of all Patagonians until December 21, the blessed winter solstice. Then it marches back again to March of 2011. I do get all this. Yes. But I can’t picture it properly. It’s all due to the earth’s tilted axis, isn’t it, which puts us now closer to the sun and now removes us farther away in wintertime. Every season—it’s amazing, actually, how this sort of thing fades from memory in six months’ time—I end up getting my ice-pick and an apple, and actually doing a kind of dance around a lamp holding the ice-pick at an angle until my geometrically dense brain finally gets it again. With that comes a moment of satisfaction, but the juices of frustration that came before—while trying to find good visuals on the Internet—linger long enough in my body to yield…well, a post “celebrating” the Vernal Equinox.

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