Posts Tagged ‘equinox’

Another trip through the warmth.

Another season of growth and wonder.

Another graceful, spiraling dance ending in forgotten stillness.

Am I writing about the lifespan of a leaf?


September 22, 1972.

September 22, 1972. I do not exist yet, but I will in roughly two weeks.

I am reaching for new things to say about autumn but it all feels like cliche.

Life, death, the onslaught of cold, the encroachment of darkness, the crispness in the air, the last brilliant flames of foliage — you don’t need me to lead you through the drill.

My grandpa has more nuance to offer on the subject than I do.

Look at the shading on his leaf, and the pattern it traces through the air. Another instance where a picture is worth a thousand words.

Look also at the equinoctial temperature that complicated year — a high of 78, and a quite temperate low of 60. Short-sleeve weather, not flannel.

Another reminder that life is not as clear-cut as we sometimes make it, and that the calendar doesn’t really get the final say. When does summer really end and fall begin? How about youth and middle age? Middle age and old?

(David Crosby, who was in some position to know, once suggested that what people thought of as “the Sixties” actually lasted from 1965 to 1975. I’m not sure what Crosby was doing in September 1972, but I bet it was potent.)

A more complicated subject than it seems, autumn … and I am coming up blank trying to find interesting things to say about its arrival.

I look forward to inhaling its essence for the next couple of months, anyway.


Read Full Post »

You know what’s coming up this week? That’s right: It’s the event I always think of as Bartles & Jaymes Day.

Bartles & Jaymes was the brand of wine coolers that made some of the best TV commercials of the Eighties — deadpan, droll, and as dry as their product was sweet.

In one springtime ad, the actor playing “Frank Bartles” (the speaking half of the duo) talked about seeing a calendar with the words “Vernal Equinox” on it.

“We went to school with old Vernal,” the actor playing Frank declared as his partner “Ed Jaymes” looked on, “and we’re proud to see he’s made a name for himself.”

Ever since then, the arrival of spring in my chosen hemisphere has made me think of those long-ago ads, even if I do not choose to celebrate it with cloying, effervescent fruit-flavored beverages.

(I was surprised to discover in my research that the Bartles & Jaymes brand still exists, though nowadays it uses bland beachfront imagery in its marketing. Who woulda thunk that a party-time beverage aimed at young people would reach its biggest success using two frumpy old guys?)

Spring means more than wine coolers, of course. It means slowly increasing warmth, and the arrival of crocuses, and the re-emergence of green, and the blowing of a bunch of wind, and the relegation of tuques and gloves to the back of the closet for another year.

And baseball. Heavens, yes, it means baseball.

The vernal equinox apparently meant something to my grandpa too, because he delighted in chronicling it on his calendar.

Sure, he used more or less the same drawing year after year. But the frequency and detail of that drawing indicate that he had some special feeling for the arrival of spring — some degree of joy that other holidays did not occasion.

(It also made him giddy to the point of doggerel, as we’ll see.)

Here’s wishing a warm, enjoyable spring to one and all. The days are getting longer and the leaves are getting ready to come out. The sustained warmth of summer will be here before we know it.

And that’s worth drinking to — no matter how you fill your glass.

March 20, 1962

March 20, 1964

March 20, 1965. Not the warmest first day of spring ever.

March 20, 1969. The robin must have flown elsewhere.

March 21, 1971. I wonder whether this "pronunciation" was meant to evoke the effects of a late-winter head cold.

March 21, 1975. Interesting how he always drew robins in mid-cry, since robins are not known for their song.

Read Full Post »