After a long, gnawing, winter made much of the vegetation at Camp Salmen dead and brown, spring is creeping in with a scattering of new color that vividly contrasts against the dull background. Red Swamp Maple seeds, bright green willow, iris, clover and a plentitude of white flowers on American Plum, Mexican Plum, Parsley Hawthorn, Mayhaw, Common Pear and Dogwood trees, polka dot the landscape and their colors easily catch the eye.
In contrast, you’ll note the dead leaves on Red Oak and American Beech trees hang fast until well into spring until it is they that stand out against the bright spring backdrop. These trees will belatedly get with the program and assume their green, summertime, chlorophyll-filled foliage.
Colorful birds flit hither and yon and rival the plants for our attention. The vivid cerulean blue of the Blue Bird with a complimentary orange blaze on its chest, the bright red of the chirpy Cardinals and a multitude of returning migratory birds add action to the rainbow effect. Now, why exactly is all this glory?
Well, besides the obvious spiritual explanation, the great scientific theory, one which, by the way, defies the use of the scientific method for accurate reproduction, is that a planetesimal meandering about our solar system during its formative mosh pit years whacked the Earth upside the head and left it perpetually addled and spinning with a twenty-three degree wobble. Simple as that, whatever became in the way of life here has had to deal with this — but aren’t the results wonderful?
From every perspective on the surface of the globe this wobbling seems to make the sun itself change its daily path during the course of the year. At this time here on the northern half of the planet the sun appears to arc higher and higher over the horizon with each longer and longer day. Someone living on the southern half of the planet, at the same distance between the equator and the poles, is experiencing the exact opposite thing. Here in the U.S., federal intervention actually makes our sunsets delay an hour as daylight savings time takes effect this weekend.
Another neat aspect of the change of the seasons is the lag effect between the celestial mechanics of our wobbling, revolving planet and the change in surface temperatures. We divide the year into quarters within this geometry– two equal equinoxes and two extreme solstices – but it takes a while for things to warm up or cool down after each of these waypoints has passed. The resulting weather can be something to look forward to. May we always have long and glorious springs and autumns.