Nature and St. Valentine’s Day

The topic of this blog–nature–is a big one, so I have lots of choices of topics. Did you know that there’s a connection between Nature and Valentine’s Day? According to medieval English legend, first set out in Geoffrey Chaucer’s poetic dream-vision “The Parlement of Foules” (written around 1382), Valentine’s Day is the beginning of warm weather and the day when the birds choose their mates.

Warm weather? The beginning of spring? Yes–the English reckon their seasons differently from us. We say that spring begins on March 21 and summer begins on June 21, so the three summer months are June, July, and August. To the English, June 21 is Midsummer Day (the middle of summer); their summer months are May, June and July. So if the equinox, March 21, marks the middle of spring, it follows that right now, the middle of February, is the beginning of spring. And it makes sense to think of the seasons this way: the sun is climbing quite high in the sky these days, it’s light until 6:00 p.m. or a little later, and the sun’s rays feel quite strong (so a few warm days like today might melt a lot of the snow). Something nice to think about–spring is closer than we think! In fact, it’s really here.

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