Longer days stir a world renewed

February 23, 2013 

Ancient calendars, as created by Babylonian astrologers, tell us we have moved beyond the days of Aquarius, the water bearer, and into Pisces, the time of the fishes and the twelfth or final days of the year.

Most of us moderns pay little attention to the ancients and their association with the planets and their superstitions. However, our earliest ancestors’ reasoning may not have been far off. For with the tipping of the earth bringing us to the season when the water-bearing rains of winter are lessening and the early spawning runs of shad and herring, of rockfish and alewives are harbingers of changes underway.

With each day our spinning earth leans a little more toward the sun. Every passing week brings a gain of nearly fifteen minutes of daylight. It doesn’t take much looking to see how the amaryllis bulbs have responded, pushing exploratory leaves upward to the light, how the sap is visibly rising, the buds swelling in the rose bushes and azaleas, and the persistent dandelions blooming, as they race for a place in the life-creating sun.

To the early people it was quite obvious that an awakening sun meant another year was beginning, a more logical system of timekeeping than the Roman calendar that replaced it by honoring fallen empires while ignoring nature’s major events such as solstices and equinoxes, when the birds and fish begin nesting or migrating, or the times of planting or harvest.

Winter thrives on shortened days and long, cold nights, but times change as we edge along with the growing hours and minutes of sunlight. The fish and plants all recognize the signs, as do the birds and the tree frogs of backwoods and swamp that can be heard, joyfully trilling in celebration, telling us the Pisces are moving upstream urged on by an awakening sun.

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