Today is the vernal equinox, which marks the official arrival of spring. Pay no attention to the cold weather outside, or the snow that is supposed to fall along the east coast, and think instead of the tulips and daffodils to come.
The vernal equinox, technically speaking, is one of two days each year when the sun rises directly in the east and the period of light and the period of dark during the day are nearly identical. This year, for complicated reasons having to do with the fact that it’s a leap year and the adjustment to the calendar made by Pope Gregory XIII more than 500 years ago, the vernal equinox arrives at the earliest time since 1896. After today, the daily periods of sunshine will grow longer until we reach the summer solstice — the longest day of the year — on June 21. Daylight will continue to be longer than darkness until the other equinox, the autumnal equinox, comes in September. It’s less celebrated than the vernal equinox because, like the Stark Clan on Game of Thrones, it tells us that winter is coming.
Today, though, is a day of equilibrium, where the dark and the light and the positive and the negative balance out. It’s a day to follow a middle course. Today is a day to treat all people in an even-handed way, to split a cookie with a friend even-Steven, and to maintain an even strain.