Monday, March 21, 2011

Autumn again

No matter how you calculate it, we’re now in autumn. I, of course, think of March 1 as the start, while others wait for the March Equinox. See what I did there? I didn’t refer to the season. That’s because “Vernal Equinox” and “Autumnal Equinox” don’t actually mean anything without a reference to date or, at least, hemisphere.

When we in the Southern Hemisphere enter autumn, the Northern Hemisphere enters spring. So, without context, I can’t tell when someone is talking about if they say “Vernal Equinox” or “Autumnal Equinox”.

Because there’s such a Northern Hemisphere bias in, well, just about everything, it’s been standard practice to use those seasonal equinox names and mean their dates North of the Equator, leaving us in the South to translate. However, it’s now the accepted practice to refer to the “March Equinox” and “September Equinox”, along with “December Solstice” and “June Solstice”, rather than include any seasonal reference.

I bet there are some Northern Hemisphere types who moan about this as “PC run amok,” or something equally dismissive, but in an increasingly interconnected planet, it just makes sense to use terms that are clear, no matter where one actually lives.

But no matter what you call it, or when it arrives, this ranks third on my list of seasons because it precedes winter, my least favourite (summer is my favourite, with spring my second favourite because it leads into summer). It didn’t help that today was a dreary, rainy—though not cool—day.

On the bright side, it’s now less than six months until spring!


Roger Owen Green said...

It's snowing in Albany, NY today. 71 degrees two days ago. March!

d said...

Autumn (Fall!) has always been my favourite season (despite it leading to winter). I think it's because I loved school so much as a girl...plus I started life in New England where Autumn is just gorgeous.

I can smell the season change on the air here, but it just makes me homesick. :-/

Arthur Schenck said...

Roger: Although swearing is certainly allowed on my blog, I'm thinking of banning that "S word" you mentioned…

D: I have many fond childhood memories of Fall; I only grew to dislike it when I grew up and now, where it's become Autumn and at the opposite side of the year, I don't like it because I like summer so much. On the other hand, the cooler weather does mean I'll be able to get some outside projects completed, so there's that.