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Words from Wiser: Season’s Change is Wondrous, But Why?

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From Chuck Wiser, 9/30/21, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels

For the “romantics” among us the changing of the seasons is more emotional and spiritual than it is scientific. One only wonders why the exact date of a season’s start or end isn’t an exact date after all if, you’ve been in a discussion, or lost a bet, arguing why it was always Sept. XX or the 4th Monday in such and such month.

The longest night of the year, contrary to my mother’s thinking it was December 19th , the night before the “day of” my birth date, is not exact but can actually be anywhere from the 20th to the 23rd, of December but, is usually either the 21st or 22nd in our Northern Hemisphere.

The seasonal starting/ending dates fluctuate a small amount as our orbital movement isn’t perfectly exact and minute (phonetically “my-noot”) inaccuracies occur. February’s odd calendar length is a manner of adjustment to keep things somewhat on track. The official start date of a season is tied to the longest and shortest days of summer and winter both known as their “Solstice” and of the annual starting dates of “equal length” days known as their “Equinox”, being Spring and Fall. These dates typically fall on one of two days between the 20th and 23rd day of the respective month in which they occur. December has the greatest possible span, that possibility occurring any of the 4 days between the 20th and the 23rd.

In 2021 these “First Days of…” were: Spring, Mar. 20th, Summer, June 20th; Fall, Sept. 22nd; Winter, Dec. 21st.

When discussing the movement of the earth relative to the sun there are two terms Rotation, and Revolution. As the earth spins on its “axis”, or “rotates,” we get the rotation that develops night and day with respect to its position relative to the half facing the sun. The axis is an imaginary line through the earth from the North Pole to the South pole. As the earth moves on an elliptical path around the sun, we get the “revolution” or 365 days movement that gives us the annual seasons. The axis of rotation is actually tipped, or leaning, relative to the sun and whether it tips toward or away from the sun as it revolves around the earth, determines which season is active. Anything more technical than that, such as which Equinox (Vernal or Autumnal) or which Solstice (Summer or Winter), leans which way, is beyond the scope and intention hereof, and more likely, your interest or attention span. I hereby refer you to the “Google gods” for further edification.  

Finally, I will get away from the Scientific and more toward the “emotional”, which I, as a “poet” prefer.  My like, or dislike, of seasons, is based on their stimulus of emotion and motivation. A seasonal discussion often blooms on social media as to “which season do you prefer?”. I guess for different reasons, I can say that I really have no favorite as such, only activities and weather situations I favor more than others. To me that seasonal question is like asking if I like night or day better? To that I reply…”Yes!”

Springtime and Autumn are probably the most “feelings” or inspiration evoking, as the extremes of warm and cool stimulate the emotions more. There are few things more inspirational, on a seasonal basis, than a sunrise on a chilly fall morning burning away the fog and warming the day into the shirt sleeve temperatures realm. Hearing a Spring rain shower tapping its rhythm on a tin roof can, as well, be inspirational.

Each season, to me, has its ups and its downs. Springtime can bring the promise of a warmer few months ahead, but then dash that promise with a surprise snow shower or “days long” rain spells that thwart your desire to get some long-awaited outdoor exercise or enjoyment like fishing. golfing, walking or bike riding. Springtime has been an inspiration for many of my romantic poetic writings. Summer does not, or has not, stood the test of time as it no longer seems to have it’s long string of “warm summer nights” from which I recall romantic memories of long walks with a girlfriend, or on the homeward trek the 3 miles home to Nile, NY, from time spent with said girlfriend. It also allowed, or prompted, midnight excursions out of the house to go skinny dipping in a nearby farmer’s pond around the outskirts of Nile. In my married, “kids are still kids” camping days, summer had a special meaning and influence on the dawning and nurturing of lifelong “campers” friendships and memories. The warmth of summer days brings mixed emotions and/or guilt, when I’d rather sit and read my book, than go outside and mow the lawn as I know I should. Skipping Fall/Autumn for a moment, I will mention that Winter is another emotion swinging month which tests your internal resolve and mind control or mental toughness warding off the depression of stretches lasting several bleak and dreary days in a row. Winter time nights, I guess, would bring me more inspiration than the day time. The clear and crisp cold winter nights, especially in moonlight, can evoke a wonderment only visible in the stark black and white of night and snow. Stark, shadowy black and white images are best captured by the old 117 Brownie Camera.

Now, Autumn, and its blaze of color. This is the only season that makes my still living in the North reasonably enjoyable, or at least acceptable. Well, that and the fact that my wife said I could move south any time I wanted, but it would be alone. Waking on an autumn day with temps in the 40’s and with everything shrouded in fog, starts you out glad that you have a working coffee machine and pellet stove. By 9 or 10 AM with the sun burning the fog away and warming the air, things start to look a little better. By mid afternoon your heart is bursting with the rapture and beauty of a glorious day and you’re thankful that you are alive.

It was on one of those such days that I happened to see a picture posted by the person named with a credit listed below, that reminded me of just how special an autumn day could be. Stealing a paraphrased line, from a former President, is as close to political as I will get…”There is no better place to be at this time of year, than right here, right now. Where would you rather be?”

Thank you, Mr. Bicycle Man, for this inspiration.

Image by Peter Stull, aka “The Bicycle Man”, Words by Chuck Wiser

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