"The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month." ~Henry Van Dyke
For inscrutable reasons weathermen call themselves "Meteorologists," but claim to have nothing to do with meteors and disclaim even being Astronomers. Then these same Meteorologist assert spring began this year at 11:47 p.m. EST, March 20. They base this on the astronomical phenomenon of the sun "crossing" the equator at that exact moment.
Rubbish and nonsense! For one thing, the sun doesn't move at all, only the earth. And, maybe it is true spring starts at a given moment on the equator, but try telling folk in Fargo North Dakota this was the first "spring day."
There are certainly more tangible indicators of winter losing the battle to spring; some of those signs being more telling than others:
Some may suppose spring comes when the yard sale signs go up. Not true, these events are timidly scheduled only after spring is assured.
No, spring does not begin with the first Robin -- they know when winter is starting to lose the war for warmth long before winter admits it or the battle has ended. Robins, though, tend to show up first during a snow storm -- or at least when snow is still a distinct possibility! Robins know spring is coming, but are not the best at knowing when it has actually arrived. Who knows, maybe they see the sun crossing the equator and are fooled along with the rest of us.
One of the most reliable foretellers of spring's arrival comes with the observation of some lone-ranger ant. If you see one beginning their annual search for picnics, it is a much more dependable sign than any alleged movement of the sun. As a corollary, multitudes of ants are more proof of summer's arrival than spring.
As the poet prophesies, spring comes not with the first day of spring, but with the first spring day. After eliminating those arbitrary dates and events, along with any misleading signs of spring, this is what the first spring day is:
It is obvious, you just can't miss it. It is warm, containing the covenant to not be cold again until after summer has completed its penetrating vocation. You walk out the door and birds which weren't there yesterday fill the air with their singing. Trees, which 8-hours earlier barely showed greenish tint to the brown of winter, suddenly overwhelm with nature's most glorious and restful color - Green! And, the grass needs cutting and weeds pulled!
Therefore I, David L Lewis, an Official Blogger on the World Wide Web, do therefore hereby proclaim, declare and determine that the 21st day of April, this year of our Lord two-thousand-nine be officially declared the First Day of Spring (thus cutting through all that nonsense about March). Let the FIRST SPRING DAY be named later.
May the Yard Sales begin!
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.