Spring Equinox Is Coming, But What Is It?
March 20th marks the first official day of spring, also known as the “spring equinox.” Although the seasonal changes are already beginning, with the blooming of the Anza Borrego wildflowers and Japanese cherry blossoms, the official seasonal change occurs at the point of equinox.
So what exactly does equinox mean? From the latin “aequus” for equal and “nox” for night, this term refers to the Earth’s two hemispheres receiving the sun’s rays equally. The equinox happens twice a year, in spring and in fall, trading the Earth’s relationship with the sun from Northern Hemisphere to Southern Hemisphere. When it’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it is fall in the Southern, and vice versa.
What are the benefits of the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere?
- Earlier Sunrises
- Longer Days
- Later Sunsets
- Softer Winds
- Blooming Plants
- Warmer Days
- Birds & Butterflies Migrating North
How can you notice the equinox?In addition to the extended periods of daylight and flowers blossoming that you’ve probably already started to see, the arc of the sun begins to shift north during the equinox. Try to use landmarks around you to mark where the sunset and sunrise occur, and watch those points move northward. The sun will continue to rise in the east and set in the west, as it lives on the celestial equator, which intersects all of our horizons at due east and due west.
Our clocks have sprung forward, our flowers are beginning to show themselves (praise for the end of a drought!), and the beginning signs of spring are among us. Time to get the bathing suits and swim trunks back out and enjoy the sun!
“Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.” – Wendell Berry