Not deferential enough: Vernal equinox

Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2013 in Opinion

Not deferential enough: Vernal equinox

by Gina Hamilton

Today is the first day of spring, of course, an ironic fact not lost on the smiling television meteorologists who gleefully pointed it out over and over and over during coverage of Tuesday's snowstorm.  It's not unusual, of course, to have wintry storms in the spring in Maine, but we had such a mild year last year and a mostly mild winter this year (until February kicked our collective rear ends) that a late winter/early spring snowstorm is just too, too much. 

All the snow had melted on the deck and along the path to the chicken coop until Tuesday morning, a fact we cheered, even managing to sit out on the deck (regardless of the cold) for a brief quarter hour in the sun.  I considered hanging laundry. The chickens had gone out to spend a couple of days in their outdoor pen, until the weather turned from mid-50s to mid-teens, at which time they retreated to their cozy coop for the duration, and I cannot blame them.

We even had a mud season, quick and very dirty, before winter reared its ugly head once again. I have seen no bulbs yet, which is probably just as well, nor have the trees budded.  Sap stopped running in the cold, and now I have no idea when we'll have syrup.

I didn't unpack my new greenhouse yet, and that's probably just as well, too. 

But today is the Vernal Equinox, when the Sun stands above the equator and we know for sure that it is headed toward our tropic, the Tropic of Cancer. And for us old druid types, that means a quiet ritual is required.

Last year I was able to bring in a branch of my forsythia.  I found pussy willows somewhere.  Not this year.

On the vernal equinox, I usually turn over my beds with a pitchfork, even though they won't be ready to plant for a while, just to wake up the worms.  Obviously, I can't do that today, so likely I'll just map out the farm on sketch paper and color it in.  Some of my plants are coming up in the seed starter; it would have been nice to be able to harden them off in the cold frame, but it's too cold for that, too. 

I suppose I can feed the birds, who have bravely returned, even though spring has not. 

But the truth is that it will still be chilly and cold and possibly even still snowing, so I'll probably just stay indoors.

I don't know about you, but I am really ready for all of this to end. 

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