“Time is but the shadow of the world upon the background of eternity.”
- Jerome K. Jerome, 1859-1927 English writer and humorist
Wednesday was Feb. 29, an unusual day as it happens only every four years. The given name Leap Year doesn’t quite seem fitting, because a day is added not skipped over. Be it years, days or minutes, the whole concept of time is rather mind-boggling. As Albert Einstein once said, “The only reason for time is so everything does not happen at once.” But he also considered it to be relative to everything else in the universe. The attempts by our ancestors to measure and document time is evident in places like Stonehenge, pyramids and caves where the walls have been adorned with art. Over the years, the level of precision in capturing and keeping time became sophisticated, almost beyond comprehension. At this point, the concept of Leap Year had to be introduced to keep the year synchronized.
My question is, “Will this time period in the Crescenta Valley be remembered as the year without winter?”
Maybe, but let’s give it a chance… March and April are still ahead. In past years, the seasons’ rain totals have done a pretty good job catching up during those months.
And “catching up” is exactly what Leap Year is all about.
Leap years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. It takes the Earth 365.242199 days to complete this journey. If Feb. 29 were not added every four years, we would have a yearly loss of almost six hours. After 100 years, 24 days – almost a whole month – would disappear right off the calendar! Instead of summer beginning in June, it would start until mid-July. Springtime fireworks? I don’t think so.
The Egyptians were the first to come up with the idea of adding a leap day every four years to the calendar, synchronizing it with the solar year and seasons. Later the Romans also adopted this solution for their calendar by adding Feb. 29. Not perfect though, as the calendar still overshot the solar year. In 128 years, an entire day would be gained. Pope Gregory in 1582 rectified this by omitting leap years three times every 400 years. A new and final rule was added – a century year must be divisible by 400 to be a leap year. The term – leap day, originates from fixed Roman holidays that would “leap” or be moved forward by one day.
Rain and hail briefly moved through the foothills earlier this week, leaving a dusting of snow atop Mt. Lukens. Winter?
After a few very cold days, once again the northeast winds will blow into the area Thursday and Friday, bringing warmer temperatures. Sunday could reach into the 80s. Nighttime lows will remain in the low to mid 40s. Next week, on Tuesday and Thursday, a 20% chance of rain is in the forecast.
There is a surplus of umbrellas on clearance this season!
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.