In one episode of The Adventures of Pete and Pete, the titular brothers are excited for the autumn Daylight Savings switch because they believe it gives them the opportunity to travel through time. The only caveat is that they must eat lots of Riboflavin to avoid getting stuck between time zones forever.
Isn’t it amazing how the time change manages to bring a shift in light, a different quality to the air? These liminal days at the cusp of seasonal changes do seem to offer a kind of time travel. The past becomes palpable. The smell of wet leaves in the fall, the crispy air after a hard freeze, and the first hot, humid morning in May are pivot points one can use to access seasons of the past. All at once you can remember how they felt. Your past and present are separate planes suddenly and ephemerally tangent to one another.
On each Equinox, theoretically, day and night are of equal duration, and every place on the planet sees the same amount of daylight. In 2008 I wrote a one-act play called Equinox that takes place at a remote oil station in northern Alaska. As the Vernal Equinox approaches, each day is seven minutes longer than the last, and at night, the two men at the station encounter younger versions of themselves. First each man meets the other’s younger incarnation, then the two young apparitions discuss the workings of the universe while watching their older selves asleep.
The older men are so shocked by the situation that they never notice their younger selves’ distinct lack of surprise.
They say on the Equinox an egg will stand on its end. Eggs as a fertility symbol have long been associated with the Vernal Equinox, but why should the balance of light around the globe for one day have any gravitational effect on an egg, or on anything else? The myth is an enigma. What effect, exactly, do we suppose that a balance of light has on us?
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