Friday, September 01, 2023

First Day of Spring 2023

Spring has sprung in this part of the world! Partly, anyway: Today is “meteorological spring”, with "astronomical spring" at the September Equinox, which will arrive in New Zealand on Saturday, 23 September 2023 at 6:50pm NZST (this year, astronomical spring will arrive 7 hours and 10 minutes before NZ Daylight Time does). In any case, the change was already underway—more or less…

I noticed the very first sign of approaching Spring—more daylight hours—a few weeks ago. In the depths of winter, it’s usually dark before 5pm, but today (for example) sunset will be at 5:57pm, and that means that there’s still some sunlight around the area—and some sunshine is still on my solar panels—at the time I’m cooking my dinner. All of which makes me (somewhat) irrationally happy.

What I want every bit as much as more daylight, however, is warmer temperatures. When I wrote about my ”Winter realities” a week ago today, I mentioned my adaptations to the cold, and while they certainly help, I’d much rather not need them—obviously.

As it happens, the nights over the coming week should be warmer than we’ve had lately. While nighttime lows have hovered around freezing, in the coming week they should be around 10 degrees (50F). That means my house will feel warmer, too. On the other hand, part of the reason for that will be that we’re supposed to have around seven days in a row of rain, and the cloud cover will help keep us warmer at night. The good with the bad, I suppose.

The best news (from my perspective, of course) is that our summer is likely to be warmer and drier than last “summer” was, and I certainly welcome that. Farmers may not feel quote as jolly about that, of course—though they, too, would obviously rather not have the constant flooding we had last summer, so, common ground?

The seasons and weather have little to do with much of what I do on any given day—aside from outside work, of course, and possibly working in the garage. For example, blogging: August, the last month of winter, was my “most-blogged” month of the year so far—by one post (replacing April). Seasonally, however, winter was in the middle of the pack: Summer 2022-23 (December through February) had 50 total posts, Winter (June-August) 2023 had 63, and Autumn (March-May) 2023 was the winner with 66. Those numbers are clearly not important, and haven’t been for the past few years (and  I’m not suggesting I’ll hit my former target of an average of one post per day). I track those numbers because I can, and I think it’s interesting because, among other things, it gives me an indication of how I was doing at any given point in the year.

For me, seasonal changes and the change from one year to the next, have always been a time of reflection and stock-taking. I still hate September as much as I have since Nigel died, and I can’t see that changing. However, that hasn’t stopped me from doing what I need to do—no matter how “need” might be defined. Going back to blogging, in September 2020 and 2021 I hit my “one post per day” goal, the only time I did in 2020, and one of only two months in 2021. On the other hand, I haven’t hit that goal in any month since September 2021—two years ago.

What all this blogging data trivia really tells me, though, is how bad 2022 was for me, worse than 2021 or 2020 were, and that my blog post output for 2023 is likely to pass 2022 soon—with October, November, and December yet to come. I can infer from this very particular data set that this year is better than last year—and potentially the best of the years since Nigel died—by this one measure.

When I shared the graphic up top on my personal Facebook this morning, I added in a comment:
FB “Memories” tells me that on this day in 2016, it was also 9 degrees (48F). But that was when we were living on Auckland’s North Shore. The temperature is the only thing that’s the same this year as back then. Life is about constant change, much of which we can’t control. What matters, I think, is how we react to/handle change, especially the change that can’t be controlled. If we find a way to do that, managing the change we can control is so much easier.
For the past four years, my entire life has been about adapting to change—and little else. That’s exactly why the numbers of blog posts matter to me: They’re a crude but useful indication of how I was doing at any given point. But nothing stands still forever—good or bad—and even what I said in my Facebook comment this morning was changed within a half hour of my posting it: The temperature had risen to 10 degrees (50F) and eventually hit 16 (60.8F). The thing is, there’s no reason I can’t push along “good change” of my own.

That’s what I’ve been reflecting on, pretty much since I noticed the lengthening days, and that picked up speed as the change of season approached. There’s one thing more: I can see the evidence of good change for me personally in the blog post totals for this year so far (and in my unplanned—and seemingly sudden—return to weekly podcasting). That’s a subject I’ll be returning to in upcoming posts, because there’s been a lot going on this year that I either haven’t talked about, or not in detail. For now, though, I’ll just say that this year has been particularly consequential, one in which I’ve been quietly working to make good change where I can, as well as making adaptations for the things I can’t change.

So, it’s spring again! I’m very happy about that, and all the positive change that Spring represents. And now I’m ready to share how how much other good change I’ve already been working on for many months. Right now, though, the sun is shining brightly and I have things I want to do.

My professional integrity compels me to note that the Facebook graphic up top isn't a graphic as such, but just a way to display text. I would never allow the lines to be split the way they appear if I could control it.


Roger Owen Green said...

It's difficult for me to think of this as autumn, given the fact we'll have at least three days of 90F/32C this week.

Arthur Schenck said...

Yeah, here it's been similar to winter, however, on September 1 the nighttime lows were significantly higher temps than they had been, which was nice and hopefully not temporary.