Psych! Yesterday was actually the vernal equinox. And speaking of psychs, it was about the coldest morning jog I’ve had all winter. (The equinox itself didn’t occur until 5:24 p.m., which is way it was the 20th instead of the 21st. And I honestly can’t understand how that works since don’t you need 24 hours for night and day to be equal? There’s a reason I went into the humanities.) Interestingly, in the pagan Wheel of the Year, it was Ostara. And the similarity of that title to Easter isn’t really coincidence. (By the by, I discuss this to some extent in The Wicker Man, due out in September.) Easter is, in essence, a spring holiday. Ēostre, a germanic goddess of spring, seems to have been its namesake.
First light comes suddenly, for those awake early enough to see it. I keep a close eye on the diminishing darkness so that I can get out and jog in the twilight. It will be too dusky to see and then suddenly it’s not. Sunrise is like an epiphany each day. From now on light will increase both morning and evening until the summer solstice, or Midsummer. Between Ostara and Midsummer lies May Day, or, as it was also known, Beltane. Beltane is the fuel behind The Wicker Man, or so I argue in my book. Holidays are important. More of them should be recognized. If the pandemic taught us anything it’s that most of us probably work too hard. At any rate, spring is now here.
The mornings are still below freezing, at least around here. The winter never got very cold and we had very little snow. Some would argue that it was more like an extended, chilly spring. The light, however, was missing. I spend a lot of time awake in the predawn hours. There’s a stillness to that time that’s a daily gift. Yesterday was a brief moment of balance. Soon it will be time to start mowing the lawn and to do the endless weeding of summer. Those will last until long after the other equinox, awaiting in September. Climate change has assured us that the weather will be erratic, but the waxing and waning of the light is as old as the spinning of this weary planet. We’ve entered the light half of the year. Equinoxes remind us that balance is rare and should be appreciated when it arrives. It’s worth making into a holiday once more.