Most calendars proclaim March 20 as the first day of spring. This date marks the beginning of astronomical spring. Even though the March 20 calendar date generates excitement, most residents cannot explain the significance of that date from an astronomical perspective. Even fewer residents could explain why on rare occasions the first day of spring might fall on either March 19 or March 21. The last March 21 “first day of spring” occurred in 2007 and will not occur again on that day until 2101. The 2020 first day of spring was the first March 19 occurrence since 1896 across the entire spectrum of US time zones. Varying time zones and calendar modifications affect precise dates when the first day of spring arrives. Trivia enthusiasts thrive on such esoteric information. People uninterested in trivia may exult in the emotional significance of the “first day of spring.”
Easier to understand than astronomical spring is meteorological spring. This season is always considered to be March, April, and May. It never varies. (September, October, and November in the Southern Hemisphere.) In short, this term relates to weather, specifically, familiar springtime weather. As this post is written, the local population is reveling in somewhat warmer weather conditions. Neighbors may greet us with “It’s warmer today,” or “It’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow.” Of course, there could be a hard cold snap or an incident of frozen precipitation. If the latter occurs it will probably not remain frozen very long, but there were a few notable exceptions to this rule. The Storm of the Century of March 1993 in the eastern half of the US was a profound exception. Other storms more typical of winter your blogger personally experienced in March while living in New Jersey were March 18-19 1956, March 2-5 1960, and even a rare April 6-7 1982 mid-winter-type blizzard.
Meteorological summer, autumn, and winter follow meteorological spring. In divine wisdom, our Creator has established seasons to benefit humanity in diverse ways. A world population approaching 8 billion would not produce enough food without the existence of seasons. Readers may wish to study this topic more completely. For those challenged by more detailed research, we suggest:
When God ordained seasons, He performed transformative miracles for the benefit of humanity. Transformative miracles are defined as ancient environmental modifications superintended by the Creator which shaped and prepared our home planet to benefit Earth’s future teeming billions of residents. Among such miracles is the appropriate tilt of the Earth’s axis as it revolves around the Sun. Without this 23 degree tilt Earth’s life-sustaining seasons would not be possible. Knowledgable Earth residents are able to study the parameters of Earth’s seasons and give glory to the God of Creation. The author of Genesis 8:22 refers to conditions in all four seasons with devotional exuberance: “For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never stop.” (The Message translation)
When meteorological spring approaches, our wild creatures and plants adjust to the changing conditions in interesting ways. Flocking behavior, particularly in birds, is no longer necessary to insure effective group food gathering or group safety. As spring advances they become more intent on finding mates and scouting sites for nest building. The sounds of late winter bird songs during brightening late winter days suggest future reproductive activity. Late in winter, we have heard calls of owls who hatch their babies in February. Squirrels provide entertainment by chasing each other through tree branches on mating forays as winter recedes. Green plants also share in the joys of renewal:
Significant human joy is produced by observing God’s provision of work/rest cycles. These cycles are illustrated by the divine gift of planetary seasons which benefit humanity created In His Image. The natural world praises the genius of the Creator: “Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them, let all the trees of the forest sing for joy” (Psalm 96:12).