Wow! That was fast! I hardly had time to take down the “Erin go Bragh” flag before it was time to put out the spring banner in the front yard. Today’s arrival of spring at 11:49 PM is the earliest season change, calendar-wise, in 124 years. What determines the timing of the equinox? According to Space.com, “…the Earth [reaches] the point in its orbit where its axis isn’t tilted toward or away from the sun. Thus, the sun will then be directly over a specific point on the Earth’s equator moving northward.”
With disappointing frequency, the scientific designation doesn’t match the weather in temperate climates, especially when we have snow storms around Tax Day. This year, though, I think Mother Nature is in tune with the calendar. Here in northeast Ohio, we didn’t really have much of a winter—minimal snow (outside the Snow Belt, of course) and very few days with truly frigid temperatures. The snowdrops in our yard have been blooming for several weeks, the daffodil shoots are tall, the tulips are popping up, and even the poppies have leaves spread across the ground. I won’t let Rick put away the de-icer and the snow shovel yet, because we’ve been fooled too often, but I’m growing optimistic that we won’t have a late-April blizzard.
Is it a good thing, then, that milder weather is here, at least for now? Will people find it easier to deal with enforced social distancing if the sun is out and there’s no snow in the forecast? Or would a foot of white stuff and howling winds instill a hibernation mindset that would say, “So what?” to closed restaurants and stores? I’d hazard a guess that parents with kids stuck at home might appreciate being able to let them go outside without layers upon layers of coats and scarves, and it could be that walking trails in the parks could substitute for trips to the mall. Sunny days tend to lift spirits, too, and we need that. So maybe in the middle of a health crisis, we in our area are at least being gifted with greening yards and bright skies.
Speaking of those closed stores, Rick and I cruised through a strip mall this evening. There were cars parked outside places that sell food and other necessities. It looked as if the Big Lots was open, too. Our destination had been Half-Price Books. I hadn’t been hopeful that it would be open, even though there are only ever a handful of customers there at any given time, and I was right. Lights out, notice on the door. To me, this is a huge deprivation. I can eat at home, I can stream movies, I can keep informed. And of course, I can use the laptop to read books online, during the day. But I never got a Kindle, so when it comes to bedtime reading, I’m now out of luck. I’ve read everything in the house at least once. I get really nervous when I have no new books, like a smoker looking at an empty cigarette pack. As a last resort, I decided to have some books shipped from Amazon. Usually, I only do that if there’s a specific book I’m after; otherwise, I prefer to browse the shelves in the bricks-and-mortar store, reading jackets and choosing authors according to what I’m in the mood to read. To my horror, however, Amazon can’t deliver for at least FIVE days! I’m used to getting shipments within a two-day window! Now what do I do? Go to my bookcases, I guess, look for something I haven’t read in a few years, and hope I don’t remember how it turns out.