Vernal Equinox

As if a single day could lay claim to a transition so elusive, the vernal equinox traditionally marks the first day of spring. By any other measure, spring has been here for a while. I first sensed it on a morning in late February, long before there was any real warmth to the sun and still weeks until the first lambs would appear in the valley fields or frogspawn fill the ruts in the flooded moorland tracks. Within minutes the spring was banished again, washed away in the sleet showers, not to return for another week.

They say that on the equinox it is possible to balance an egg on its point—a seductive kind of nonsense that seems somehow appropriate at this time of year. My parents told me they went out walking yesterday and disturbed a fox out of a tree, the startled animal crashing incongruously out of the branches overhead.

Foxes may climb trees, or an egg balance on its point at other times. Even so, I’m amused and fascinated by the idea that for a brief moment, on that celestial balance point between the dark and light half of the year, there may almost be a place for the whimsical, outlandish or just plain daft.