Male fruit flies, when rejected by females, turn to alcohol.
March 20, 2012
“The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month. “
So said poet Henry Van Dyke.
This early spring, which arrives today at 1:14 A.M. EDT, is early in all respects, because this year spring will make its earliest astronomical appearance since 1896.
It's early in another respect since, for most of us, it’s felt like spring for a bit.
However, weather or not, the season officially happens when the sun crosses directly over the equator and we have almost equal days and nights across the world.
A moment known as the Vernal Equinox.
It's all about a 23.4-degree tilt of the Earth's axis.
Somehow Hipparchus, a Greek astronomer, figured out all this as early as 150 BC diagnosing the westward motion of the equinoxes along the equatorial bulge of the earth.
Some people trace the roots of the modern-day spring break to the ancient rituals of the Romans who welcomed this season of fertility and rebirth with a Bacchanalian feast celebrating Bacchus, the god of wine.
It must have been fun since the Roman Senate eventually banned such ceremonies for "indiscriminate behavior."
As another poet, Emily Dickenson said:
“A little Madness in the spring is wholesome even for the King.”
So when the first real day of spring happens — opening day, “Look, a redwing blackbird," "Could that be the Johnson's new barbecue?" — what fine follies will you be into?