Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Day of Spring

The Northern Hemisphere begins the Vernal Equinox today, March 20, 2011, at 7:21 pm EDT and that makes it 4:21 pm in Phoenix – Mountain Standard Time as we (hem, hem) don’t do Daylight Savings Time. This means that at the start of spring (spring equinox) day and night are approximately 12 hours long (at the equatorial plane) and the Sun is at the midpoint of the sky.

For me personally, it means that the oven has been turned on and we are preheating for a long scorching summer. I really wish I could move to the cooler high country but life has chained me here to the concrete and asphalt of the city.

Interestingly enough however, there was an article in the Arizona Republic on March 10th that encourages me to hang in there.

“Tree experts envision the return of Phoenix's oasis of green”

In the early 1900s, the Valley was an oasis of green with lush trees sprouting tall along wide canal banks that crisscrossed Phoenix and its suburbs.

Cottonwoods, among the more common of the area's trees, dug in, drinking water that seeped from the dirt-lined canals.

By the 1950s, as families flocked to the Valley in post-World War II bliss to create a modern community, the oasis withered.
It seems that the people in charge finally figured out the heat island effect and are going to work on planting some shade trees. I’ve got my fingers crossed that they are real shade trees and aren’t like the thin wimpy sticks that get planted in parking lot makeovers only to be broken off in the first high wind that blows through. There is no shade under those puppies, let me assure you and most of the broken ones are never replaced.

Yes, this will be a conflict with the water usage sensitive among us. But eliminating or at least greatly reducing the heat island effect will allow more rain to fall on us. Plus, the temperatures, while high at mid-day, won’t STAY high as long. Natural landscaping sheds the heat faster. All in all, we will be better off having more trees in this concrete jungle.

And this writer will be a much happier person.