Can you believe it? We’ve made it halfway through March, the month of the vernal equinox. It’s also the month of my birthday, but I’m not saying which because the older you get the less you look forward to being another year older, whereas when you’re young there’s a certain amount of pride and ego involved and you can’t wait to get older. So much so that you even count halves, like when you’re nine you have to add that 1/2 as soon as possible.
But then as the years pass you get to that amorphous point in time when you can’t help but squirm a little when it’s your birthday and somebody asks your age. Like my mother. She always said she was 39. Every year. Just like Jack Benny.
Mark Twain says wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been, so I’m sure I’ll wake up on my birthday this year and look in the mirror and see Jack Crabb from Little Big Man staring back at me in the glass. Or a Keith Richards. Or better yet, Willie Nelson.
I was recalling a dream I had one time where Willie and I were sitting in a booth at Denny’s talking. In real life, I’ve never met Willie and have never seen him in concert, but for some reason there he was in that dream. I guess I’m no different from anybody else, in that every now and then some celebrity pops up in a dream for no reason at all. Over the years I’ve dreamt about hanging out with a spectrum of actors, presidents, fictional characters and rock stars. Heck, once I dreamed I was a member of the rock band Squeeze on a tour in England (where did that one come from?). And now here I was with the red-headed stranger talking about music, biscuits and gravy, and the secret of life. He told me the secret to enjoying life is to not worry. About anything. “Just don’t worry,” he says. “Things are gonna’ turn out the same whether you worry or not.”
And then I woke up.
I was wondering if it was my way of telling myself to start smoking marijuana if a time comes when the state legislature makes it legal. But no, I did the wacky-tobaccy a couple of times in the early seventies when I came back from Vietnam and tried, unsuccessfully, to become a hippie. My hippie period didn’t last too long since I never cared much for tie-dyed bell-bottoms and beads, and although the music was pretty good, I could never afford the rock and roll lifestyle.
When the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold. Welcome to spring in New Mexico, and I wanna’ get outta’ town. Maybe it has something to do about the arrival of spring and that primal urge to be happy-go-lucky and the kicking up of one’s heels kind of thing. With trees greening up and flowers blossoming, it’s a rebirth, a time of renewal. It’s going to happen officially Monday at 4:28 a.m. when the sun does its thing and crosses the equator. Or is it the earth that does its thing? No matter, it’s the Vernal Equinox – Latin for “equal night.”
On the Vernal Equinox, the sun rises at due east and sets at due west, and if you’re really industrious you should go out at sunrise Monday morning and take note of the position of the sun on the horizon with respect to a familiar landmark, like a power pole or a mountain. Then you will always know where due east or west is no matter where the sun rises the rest of the year.
That’s for us here in New Mexico, but if you’re reading this in Australia it’s the Autumnal Equinox and winter is on the way down under. As we know, the reason for all this is the 45-degree tilt of the earth, but guess what, there are some planets that don’t tilt at all.
Just recently astronomers have discovered a star out there in the cosmos that has seven Earth-sized planets orbiting around it, and from what I’ve read the planets have no tilt. No spring, no fall, no winter or summer. Just hot or cold. I would hope that there is a thin zone bordering the two that would be just fine in which people could live. But, no thanks. I like the seasons. One thing, though, one of those stars – Trappist 1 – is a red dwarf, in other words, a red sun just like the sun for Superman’s Krypton.
I’m not going any further with that, or I’ll get into the quantum mechanics of the Bizarro Universe or why guys like me and Willie don’t walk around wearing a flowing cape.