When does spring begin? Lately, we’ve been told that “meteorological spring” begins on March 1. For gardeners, it might be the day that flowering plants emerge from the ground, and lawns show the first sign of green. For college students, it might be the first cold beer on their long-awaited spring break. For tax accountants, it’s the onset of their busy and stressful tax season. For those prone to seasonal affective disorder, it might be when they finally shake the “winter blues.” For sports fans, it’s the crack of the bat in spring training, but thanks to major league baseball’s labor dispute, it will be a very long wait for that. But… I digress.
One thing that we can agree on is that the spring equinox – a traditional marker of the start of spring – will take place on March 20, 2022. Twice a year – at the spring or vernal equinox and the fall or autumnal equinox, the Earth’s axis is tilted such that we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness, with the sun visible directly overhead at noon. From then, it’s off to the races, as the days grow longer until the summer solstice in June, marking the longest day of the year in terms of daylight. For those who rely on sunlight to maintain their worldly optimism and sense of well-being, spring is an important milestone.
Spring is a time of renewal: planting crops and hoping for favorable conditions, emerging from the grays and browns of winter into colorful floral profusion. Putting away winter clothes, donning our festive apparel, and spending more time in nature. Spring brings Easter, Passover, and pagan holidays that provide a time of reflection and recommitment. In spring, we dare to imagine a new and better world – spiritually and politically.