Saturday, May 3, 2008
May Cross Quarter Day
The wheel of the year seems to turn faster and faster as the years go by.
Here is the sunrise from a fixed spot in the meadow looking east taken this morning, at 6: 40 AM MDT.
Tomorrow afternoon (MDT) the position of the earth will be half-way between the northern hemisphere vernal equinox and the summer solstice. On the global analemma, as the seasons progress, the sun appears to be crossing between the equator and the Tropic of Cancer, and at the May Cross-Quarter, it appears closer to the Tropic of Cancer. This is due to the tilt of the earth--which causes the seasonal variations in the time and angle of sunlight.
This is a picture taken on the vernal equinox from the same fixed spot in the meadow looking east at 8 AM MDT. If you compare the two pictures, you can see that this morning (top picture) the sun was rising quite a bit further north of east than it was on the Vernal equinox. It is also rising quite a bit earlier, and setting quite a bit later. Until the summer solstice, the days in the northern hemisphere are lengthening. Around the cross-quarter, the length of the daylight seems to be rapidly changing day by day.
Here is the sunset last night from a fixed spot on the back patio. Just six weeks ago, it was setting well to the left of this spot, near the top of the rise you see on on the horizon at the left edge of the picture. The picture was taken at 7:32 PM MDT. In the last week or two, we have noticed that the light is staying in the sky longer after sunset, too, until nearly 9 PM.
Summer is on the way!
Although, by the Old Calendar, Thursday was Beltaine, which was the celebration of the beginning of summer in ancient Europe.
But at 7500 feet, the mountain summer comes slowly,
and the leaves have just erupted on the Aspen on the back patio. This is more than three weeks later than in Albuquerque. The Mountain Mahogany are just showing tiny leaves unfolding, and the scrub oak will not leaf out until June.
These last few days we have experienced another cold snap, although without precipitation. This morning when we commenced our walk at dawn, the air temp was 24 degrees. Now, at mid-morning it is 49.
But I still like the idea that summer is upon us!