“Change is a measure of time and,
in the autumn, time seems speeded up.
What was is not and never will be again will be;
what is is change.”
~ Edwin Teale, American naturalist, writer and photographer
Summer 2014 is almost history. After two power outages and temperatures reaching close to 110, most of us eagerly await a change of seasons and hopefully an end to the hot weather. On Sept. 22 at 7:29 p.m., autumn begins in our part of the world. I can’t promise an instant drop in temperatures, but as each day passes we are getting closer to the cooler days of fall.
Summer furniture is 75% off at Ralphs. Pumpkins and chrysanthemums have now taken center stage. In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is appearing later in the morning and setting earlier in the evening. A common utterance by many is, “The days are getting shorter.” Days are still 24 hours, although it is light that is now sadly lacking. This is our autumn equinox, which in Latin is aequus (equal) and nox (nox) night. Although the equinox happens at the same moment worldwide, due to the differences in time zones it appears to arrive at different times. So the exact date that the equinox arrives is actually Sept. 23 at 2:29 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). Once known as Greenwich Mean Time, UTC can be considered the “global time base.” The UTC location includes the longitudinal areas of western Africa and Europe.
Before time was measured by the clock, humans looked to the sky and their surrounding environment as indicators of the time of day and seasonal changes. In fact, the Incans at Machu Picchu in Peru created the intihuatana stone (meaning hitching post for the sun). Studies by archeological historians and astronomers found this granite block to be a solar clock and also a precise indicator of both equinoxes. Here in La Crescenta a sundial is being built at the Crescenta Commons at Rosemont and Orange avenues. Its construction is being overseen by the CVTC and is scheduled for completion in the next few weeks.
Today, we know each equinox and solstice is an astronomical event, caused by the Earth’s tilt on its axis and annual orbit around the sun. Too scientific? Then look at nature – birds and butterflies are heading south and leaves are beginning to turn color.
The National Weather Service is teasing us, based on real scientific data, with the possibility of “some local drizzle or even a little rain” Friday (this week, not next), “especially across the foothills of L.A. County.” Temperatures will drop more than 15 degrees. Enjoy the cool temps because by Monday, up we go again as an offshore flow intensifies and “warming may be significant.”
Last Monday while driving north on the 2 Freeway with the a/c blasting, I was listening to Broadway Hits on Sirius Radio. Either someone had a sense of humor or it was just a timely coincidence; Gene Kelly was singing, “Singin’ in The Rain!” Yes, “what a glorious feelin’” it would be to be “just singin’ in the rain…”
I promise you, it will rain again.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.