Category Archives: Equinox

Springtide Balance

We come to a time of balance today with the arrival in the Northern Hemisphere of the spring equinox. The time of equinox balance tonight is 5:58 PM, Eastern Daylight Time. We are halfway now between the shortest day of the year (Midwinter in December) and the longest day (Midsummer in June). The sun rises pretty much due east, no matter where you are located on the globe, and sets pretty much due west. All is equal for a brief time and then the number of daylight hours begins to overtake nighttime hours in the North, as we head toward summer. And what is gained in the North is taken away in the South; there, winter is approaching, and there, this day brings the autumn equinox. It is a constantly changing beautiful balance, the balance of our planet spinning on its tilted axis as it orbits the sun.

Sunset on this first day of spring will also bring Purim, a holiday in the Jewish calendar marked by costumes, noisemakers called graggers, and delicious hamantashen, triangular shaped pastries filled with things like poppy seeds or prune or cinnamon and walnuts.

As for Seth and me, we are bringing in this springtide on a ship in the Western Caribbean. We are two people who do not like large crowds, and we have learnt to walk certain decks and to be in certain places at certain times so that it almost seems like there are not an additional 3,998 people sailing with us. The sea air is wonderful. Neither of us is seasick, but as we walk the deck, lifting one foot up before the other, we sometimes have to think long and hard about where to put that foot once it’s up above the ground. As it would happen, balance is foremost on our minds this equinox day, and maybe that is just right.

Image: An illustration for a book of science by Sebastian Münster, 1600. [Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.]


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Autumnal Arrival

How was the weather where you’re at yesterday? It was St. Matthew’s Day, a traditional weather marker:

Matthew’s Day, bright and clear
Brings good wine in the next year.

St. Matthew’s Day comes with or near the autumnal equinox each year, and this year, that moment of balance arrives tonight on the 22nd of September: Here in Lake Worth, which is currently in Eastern Daylight Time, we enter autumn at 9:54 PM. With it, day and night are in balance, and the sun, for a few days now and a few to come, is pretty much rising due east and setting due west. But after this, the days in the Northern Hemisphere will be shorter than the nights.

With our planet in balance, it would seem a good time to seek balance in our own lives, as well. Whatever that means for you, this is what I wish you. For me, I know it means balancing the time I give away with the time I need myself so that all the things that are important to me receive their fair share and that I take the time to enjoy the things of this world––especially in the season I call my favorite, filled as it is with the beauty and abundance of gifts from the earth. And so, a good autumn to us all.

Image: Park in Autumn by Michał Gortskin-Wywíorski. Oil on canvas, circa 1900 [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons.


If it Ain’t Got that Swing

I know, the weather’s been odd. Snow’s been falling snow on snow in much of the country all this month. Here in Lake Worth, where we had a warm February, the nights this March have been cool, and our first day of spring will be a day of swing: It’s forecast to reach the upper 90s this afternoon (wha?) and then drop down to 62 tonight.

But March is like this: all over the place. We know this. One thing is certain, however: the almanac brings us today the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It is a time of balance, the equinox is, even if the weather does not seem to agree, and twice a year we experience a period of general equality of sunlight across the planet. Come tomorrow, the Northern Hemisphere will be a day closer to summer, the Southern Hemisphere a day closer to winter. But for today, balance and equality.

If some measure of precision is important to you, the equinox arrives here in Lake Worth at 12:15 in the afternoon. That’s Eastern Daylight Time, “Daylight” because we’ve just last week set our clocks ahead by an hour. There is a movement afoot in the State Legislature here in the Sunshine State to keep us Floridians perpetually in Daylight Saving Time, and I am not so sure how I feel about that. It’s funny how our representatives can’t get anything done about more important matters, and yet there was an almost universal agreement that it is a good idea to rob us of an hour of daylight in the morning by sticking it on to our evenings all year long. All in all, I am more of a roundabout sort of guy, not very precision-oriented. So when you get right down to it, it doesn’t matter all that much to me. But I do know that when I was in high school, classes started at 7 AM, and it was tough enough getting to school on time without it being dark out. If anything, I’d be more inclined to keeping us all in Standard Time.

But wait. (How did we get here? This whole concept of time and its measurement and the tools we’ve invented with which to do so––and then we get folks like Albert Eintstein telling us we can go backwards in time if we travel fast enough––well, all of these things perplex me and make my head hurt.) Let’s return to spring. When I lived in Alabama, learning how to print and make paper and bind books, eating barbecue served with sliced white bread once a week and occasional gifts of Hamburger Pie from the neighbors, there was one season I particularly loved: Spring. The trees erupted each spring with flowers blooming like nothing I had ever seen growing up in Florida. They bloomed and when they did it was like snow was falling, except the sun was warm on my skin and the petals drifted passed my shoulder in slow motion from the trees to the ground. I remember white blossoms, in particular, and pink ones, too. Spring in Alabama was so beautiful. It arrives there today by the almanac and everywhere in this great hemisphere as our warm and gentle summer season approaches, one day closer now in our planet’s yearly circle round the sun. May your springtide be just as beautiful.


I’m sorry, things have been hectic, and I missed writing to you for St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday and for San Giuseppe, St. Joseph’s Day, yesterday. I hope you had cabbage and I hope you had zeppole. We did. Easter is fast on the approach and we have some really wonderful new things in the Convivio Book of Days Catalog for Spring, all of them traditional handicrafts from Europe. There are a whole bunch of new designs of our handmade paper maché egg containers from Germany, new hand painted pysanky from Ukraine and from Poland, and more. Take a peak, won’t you? Spend $50 on these items (or anything in the catalog), and we’ll ship your domestic order to you via US Priority Mail for free. How great is that?

Image: “Čeština: Jaro” (or, in English, “Spring”) by Eduard Tomek. Watercolor on paper, 1958 [Creative Commons] via Wikimedia Commons.