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Vernal Equinox

The vernal equinox. The first breath of spring returning after a bitter, endless winter. A moment of terrestrial equality, of balance. Between night and day, between north and south. Hemispheric equilibrium. Circling Sol in the expanse of space, we fall directly beneath its gaze just twice in our annual orbit.

Spring. Primavera. While I wish for renewal, I am not so naïve to think that spring’s rain can wash away the deep winter chill, the cracks in the pavement, and the cracks in ourselves. The freeze was too long and too thorough. But still, blossoms appear.

The pink cherry blossoms that dot the city burst from trees transplanted from half a world away, like so many people. Their presence brings life and beauty and color to the dreary, monochromatic streets.

A new solar phase, a new season, even a new year in Iran, India and the Babylonian Empire, places and times I have never been, though we share the same earth.

So I walk alone in the cold night, at 2:37 am, the exact moment of equality and balance. I haven’t slept, opting to stay awake for the instant when the sun hovers exactly over the equator of our tiny blue marble. Or I just can’t sleep. What time is it in Iran or India or Babylon?

In this cool, quiet moment, I try to embrace the orbit, the never-ending circular motion, momentarily aligned. Time is linear but movement is cyclical. What’s the difference, really? I breathe in. I breathe out. The green-grey air fills my lungs.

By Michael McPhie


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