Friday, January 30, 2009

Delusions Of Spring

Spring is a month and a half away, but the strong sunshine reflecting off the banks of snow have a way of playing with my perceptions. That, combined with being cramped up for two months has left me rearing to get back on the road.

I wasn't made for winters, and my body is begging me to be let loose. I've been doing a few laps at the YMCA indoor track, but it's just not the same. Right now the roads and sidewalks are covered with sheets of ice, and there's not too much I can do.

Winter has given my body a good chance to recover from my fall injuries, but now it can hurry up and get warm.

Marathon, here I come.

1 comment:

Sonny said...

When I started reading online about attempts to have a natural diet, it came from primitivists who plan to survive the crash of civilization they predict. I realized that even if they're wrong about everything else, the idea of finding what a really natural diet means, going past the blinders put on us by civilization, and discovering how much further real health goes and how much more clear-headed you can be than a civilized diet and lifestyle lead us to expect, is potentially crucially important, at the center of living well consciously. A related idea from that primitivism is that some of the major ideas we measure our lives by are shaped by very recent industrial civilization, by its words and artificial categories for its customs and technological practices, rather than ideas discovered from nature and describing nature itself, or at least ideas that are tested traditional culture.

So it's completely ridiculous that people think a "day" means the period from midnight on a clock to midnight on a clock the next time, isn't it? I mean, everyone educated knows that's the technical definition, and so should know that a real, traditional day is something different. Similarly, almost everyone now is aware that the seasons officially begin and end with solstices and equinoxes, but is that what a season really means? No, that's the very recent so-called "astronomical definition" of the seasons.

Traditionally a season was whatever people in some region noticed as part of the year and gave a name. The four major seasons in English, winter, spring, summer, and fall, were assumed to be equally spaced through the year, but since the sun being higher or lower in its path through the sky was the main determinant of how warm a day felt and how well plants grew, in the oceanic temperate climate of England, the middle of a season was the equinox or solstice. In the title of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," midsummer means the summer solstice, which people now say is the beginning of summer, following t.v. meteorologists. That's the level to which modern culture has sunk, literally.

You might want to consider spring as March, April, and May, as the dictionary says is the popular definition. That puts us one month away from spring. Instead, you could choose to count seasons as beginning and ending with the weather and foliage that defines them, if you live in a region that has four sharply defined seasons.

If you choose to measure seasons according to British or Celtic tradition, spring starts on the cross-quarter day between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. That makes spring February 3 this year! Why not get a head start on everyone else?

People who wait for the calendar definition of summer to get out miss out on half the sunlight, because they don't begin acting like it's summer till midsummer. Spring is the period of the year to prepare for summer, and when you've got daylight half the day on average. If you measure time by the clock and time zones and daylight saving time, you may not even know how much daylight you have or when real noon is.

I just thought you would enjoy an attempt at a natural perspective on seasons, since you are into other natural things.