Although years, days, and seasons are observable phenomena supported by astronomical measurements, the custom of starting our calendar year in early winter seems comparatively arbitrary.
Personally, I tend to feel that western cultures missed a grand opportunity by not using the spring equinox to mark and celebrate another long journey around our star. The logistics of that switch may get a bit messy, but I would support it symbolically… in spirit.
For one thing, spring is accompanied by the start of baseball season. That’s reason enough for me to regard it as a “new year.”
Importantly, it’s also a time of rapid transition around the sanctuary. We caregivers witness the local wildlife emerge from their winter dens (MARMOTS!), the pastures develop a tinge of green, and the chimpanzees venture outside for both recreation and reconnaissance. (Also, there are marmots.) All of these little signs gradually accumulate, day by day, until the landscape is bursting with wildflowers and songbirds and we’ve forgotten all about the winter snowstorms.
In honor of this “new year”/equinox, I’m sharing some recent photos that feel undeniably spring-like. (Did I mention the marmots already?)