Summer time in Spring
So Spring officially started on Monday 20 March 2017 at 11:28. Last year Nature marked this event with a total solar eclipse. And Nature marked that event with full blown cloud cover. (*Growl*)
Naturally the onset of Spring means that 6 days later we enter the misnomer known as summer time (summer being another 3 months away).
I’ve commented before about the misuse of the extra hour we gain as we enter Winter time (in Autumn), so now that we’ve learned our lesson we get to give the hour back and get out of bed an hour earlier. On a Sunday, the day of rest.
I think we’ve messed up again…
Spring – what’s the point?
But that’s summer time, and I want to get back to Spring. It seems to be a bit of a forgotten season and I think it’s because it’s a sort of stepping stone into the warmth and brightness of Summer.
I postulate that Spring isn’t really a season in itself. It’s fake and superficial. The sun shines, but it doesn’t really warm things up. It still hangs low in the sky and gets in our eyes. The wind is cold, and morning frost is always possible. It’s the worst possible combination of all kinds of weather.
Maybe we should be pleased; in summer the sun comes out and we do everything we can to avoid its benefits. We sit in the shade under trees, wear shorts and T-shirts to cool down, smear sun-cream on our skin to avoid its contact and wear sunglasses so we don’t see its lighting effect.
Spring does all that work for us, so we should be happy – and I suppose most of us are. But I think our cause for happiness is false. I think we like Spring for another reason.
A time of change
Spring marks a change from the dreary whiteness of winter. Daffodils and crocuses are sprouting, injecting welcome colour and scent into a new temporal landscape. Birds are returning from the south to build their homes in trees from which green leaves are budding. Cheerful tweeting fills the air.
It’s not just different – it’s change. Is this what spring is then – not a season in itself but a change?
Now this makes more sense. In Spring (and Autumn) we’re at the vernal (autumnal) equinox – when the sun is over the equator. In other words, the sun is passing from the southern hemisphere to the northern. From negative to positive latitudes. A change.
In terms of the sine wave which models these kinds of latitudinal changes, we’re now at the point of maximum gradient.
We notice this by how much lighter it gets in the evening by larger increments of time at the equinoxes; take a look at the sunset times – they get later with each successive day by greatest amounts around now.
Spring – the journey
I’ve often noted in my reviews of time travel novels that they may take on either a journey or a destination approach. I think it’s fairly clear that if Spring were a time travel novel, it would be more about the journey – how we progress from the cold and bleakness of Winter to the warmth and life of Summer – than about the jumping lambs and daffodils made out of egg cartons by kids.
Clock change – Spring forward
For now, it’s nearly time to change the clocks. It’s the ‘easy one’ – putting the hour forward. Most digital clocks don’t allow going an hour back, so we end up putting the hour forward by 23. It sums up time travel – easier to go forwards in time than back. Still. In human terms it’s the difficult one as we get up an hour earlier.
I read a facebook post earlier today. (OK, obviously it was earlier…) It mentioned that it’s ironic that parents lying in for half an hour tomorrow are still getting up half an hour early!
I’m going to ease myself in slowly, and start changing my clocks now on Saturday night. I’ve already done the clock setting on my thermostat so that the heating will come on at the right time in Summer…
Ah yes. It’s still Spring so maybe that’s not as daft as it sounds! 😉