By Uncle Dale
Spring equinox is here! With the earth on a tilt, today is one of two days of the year that the Sun is on the same plane as the Earth’s equator. The practical meaning for us is that on March 20, day and night are approximately equal, hence the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night). For Keedysville, Maryland where I live, this actually happened last Sunday as the sun rose at 7:19 am and set at 7:19 pm because of our latitude. Of course that doesn't really matter, for in the hills of Western Maryland, the sun rises and sets several times a day as you drive down the road.
But today is the day to rejoice! I love Winter, but Winter is dead and Spring is born. I arose at 6:00 am and shaved off my winter beard. Like so many snowflakes melting under a Spring sun, the whiskers disappeared down the drain and I am renewed. It is Spring break at the University of Maryland so I am off work. I will celebrate Spring by planting peas and onions. I will take the tank heater out of the watering trough. I will clean the winter accumulation of manure out of the chicken coop. I will open the windows to air out the cabin down by the creek. I will let the horses celebrate by turning them out of the sacrifice lot for a few hours. It is amazing the effects an obscure astronomical event can have on your emotions.