Many across Southwest Virginia and indeed the northern hemisphere welcome today as the first day of spring. As readers may remember from their earth science classes, today is called the Spring Equinox. “Equi” means “equal” and “nox” means night; this word reflects how today, the length of day and nighttime is approximately equal all across the globe. Here in Roanoke, the sun rose at 7:21 this morning and will set at 7:32 pm. Tomorrow, the sun will rise one minute sooner and set one minute later, and that trend will continue to give us gradually longer (and thus warmer) days all the way to the first day of summer on June 21.
The end of winter is a relief to many. Even before Covid, many elderly feared winter because of higher mortality rates due to respiratory illnesses, accidents on ice, social isolation, etc. And for many of all ages, wintertime Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a reality. As theroanokestar.com published on December 14, 2021, SAD causes many to struggle with feelings of depression, sluggishness, social withdrawal, substance abuse, and even suicidal thoughts.
If normal winters are hard on people physically and emotionally, the past two winters have been between challenging to catastrophic. We recently passed the two year anniversary of the March 2020 “two weeks to flatten the curve.” The satire site Babylon Bee has gotten into the act, posting its outrageous headline: “Nation Prepares To Celebrate 2nd Anniversary Of Two Weeks To Flatten The Curve.” Some skeptics now quip, “What was presented to us as “two weeks to flatten the curve” soon became “two years to flatten the economy, our Constitutional liberties, and our spirits.”
As signs of spring abound, so too do signs of getting back to normal abound. Schools are back in session; more businesses and churches are reopening; and mask mandates are falling. As reported here on March 16, the Roanoke Valley Community Band offered its first concert since the Covid lockdowns.
For many reasons, numerous people are looking forward to the new season of warmer temperatures, longer days, and greener scenery.