The English rock band, The Zombies have a song from 1968 entitled “Time Of The Season” The lyrics state “Tell it to me slowly (tell me what),I really want to know , It’s the time of the season …for loving”. Basically for me, it’s a call to consider simpler times and time itself. The song makes me want to think about how we tell time and more specifically how we arrange our calendar year into four equal seasons. Equal in time allotments; not what they have to offer.
In the year 1582, It was decreed by Pope Gregory XIII, that there needed to be a change in the Julian calendar. Thus, the Gregorian calendar was created and had three leap days removed every four hundred years. Also, changes were made to the lunar cycle, which helped in the calculation of Easter. This calendar gave us 365 to circle the Sun. Then by some highly calculated mathematicians, that calendar year was divided up into four seasons. The four seasons — winter, spring, summer, autumn are caused by Earth’s tilt toward the sun. It makes perfect sense. It’s just science.
This has been going on for millions and millions of years, or at least 2000 or so (depending who you talk to). It works great. It’s a perfect plan on paper and I know because I’m staring at my wall calendar right now. And it’s never wrong. But is that true? Mother Nature doesn’t seem to think so.
Take summer…the calendar says the hot season begins near June 21st, but everyone really knows that the summer starts much earlier on or about the Memorial Day weekend. Just check the traffic on Route One headed to the beach. You can’t tell me the summer hasn’t started. Transversely, the summer is not suppose to officially be over until September 21st, yet everyone stops wearing white after Labor Day weekend and the kiddies go back to school.
Thus begins the cool down of autumn or fall. The globe knows that a change is happening. It even drops its leaves in preparation of the coldest season of all. So from football games, to warmer sweaters and pumpkin flavored everything, we head into winter. The calendar will tell you the winter actually begins around the 22nd of December. But everyone knows that winter begins the weekend after Thanksgiving, particularly after Black Friday. Although some retailers would have us believe through their merchandising and advertising that winter starts the day after Labor Day.
How long is winter anyway? Seems like six months. How long is spring? Most years that seems like they last just about 30 days between Tax Day in April until about the middle of May. But nope. According to the calendar, they each get their equal 89 days or so. That’s not even three months.
I guess we’re lucky that summer seems longer than it really is. It is the one season we can enjoy. The days are longer, the nights seem longer and the sunshine some how feeds the souls. But then there is State Fair week, which meteorologically is scheduled to be the hottest week of the year with a 110% chance of thunderstorms each night (but we’ll save that for another article).
So, I guess no matter what those smart guys, who studied the Sun and the stars and did all that math, did to come up with our modern calendar, our terrestrial home Mother Earth is the one who dictates when the seasons begin and end. Unless of course, you’re stuck in traffic at Five Points trying to get to the boardwalk…then you are the one that already knows what season it is.
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