Turning the Corner


"Spring forward!" my mind reminds me, but my body says go back to sleep. I hate the artificial time changes in fall and spring, though I understand they're supposed to be for the greater good. I don't need a nudge from the time authorities to recognize that spring is coming. I can tell by the light coming in my bedroom window. There is a day in late February—it has to be a sunny day—when I draw the blind and realize the sun has "turned the corner." The plant in the window is suddenly illuminated as the sun has climbed high enough to clear the corner of our house. From now until the summer solstice, it will continue to climb as it races towards its highest point. The fascinating pattern that the sun makes as it moves from its lowest to its highest points in the sky is called an analemma—a lopsided figure “8,” with the vernal and autumnal equinoxes at the point where the lines cross. There are wonderful photos of this on the APOD site (Astronomy Picture Of the Day). From now until June, sunlight will stream through the window, making it quite obvious that it's time to get up. A nice, natural time that my body recognizes, not one that needs an alarm.