Kinda Buggy

This year, the fall equinox arrives in the wee small hours of  23 Sep. Who moved it from the 20th/21st? Who authorized this change? Did anyone check with NASA? Will Spring also be late?

In sublime disregard for these calendrical shenanigans, our Ottawa weather is doing its usual thing for this time of year. Daytime highs in the 20s (even the high 20s) seem to promise an endless summer; overnight single-digit lows warn that autumn is coming.  

I don’t go out in the true summer heat so much: humidex scores nearing 40C are too much for me. But this summer annex is a delight, not least for the flying/jumping insects that abound.  In one pose this guy, for instance, looks magisterial; in another he looks both goofy and reflective.

2-photo collage of grasshopper on windowThese guys — wasps, I think — enjoy my pinky-winky hydrangea: a plant I love expect for its silly name.

Wasps on pinky-winky hydrangea

Just as I never really noticed the breeze until I was trying to get close-ups of things being blown around by it, so, too, I never paid much attention to the variation in bug movement until I was trying to catch them still for a nano-second. Some are all over a nearby surface but never pause; others rarely alight but sit and think when they do touch down.

Bee and moth

I won’t say that the pursuit is all — I want something to show for my time, after all — but it might well be 80% of it.

And if you’re at all interested in that pesky autumnal equinox, it turns out that the normal date *is* 22 or 23 Sep, although it can occur as early as 21 Sep or as late as 24 Sep. It’s all because our trip around the sun takes a little more than 365 days.

By adding a “leap day” (Feb. 29) to the calendar every four years, we have managed to keep our seasons more or less consistent from year to year. However, leap years don’t ensure that equinoxes always fall on the same date. “Because of leap years, the dates of the equinoxes and solstices can shift by a day or two over time, causing the start dates of the seasons to shift, too,” according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. – Space dot com

And that spring equinox? Apparently it varies from 19 to 21 Mar, using the Gregorian calendar.

 

4 Comments

  1. Jim Taylor

    Your pictures are of critters that apparently don’t know how to play. Their entire lives consist of work, work, work. That’s why it’s possible for a photographer (like you) to wade right into a flowering bush to get closeups of bees and wasps — they’re so preoccupied with getting nectar that they don’t recognize danger in the form of a human who is approximately a thousand times their size. (Once they discover danger, the situation changes, of course!)
    I’ve read — and tend to agree — that play is the primary characteristic of the “higher” mammals on the evolutionary tree. I doubt if bees and butterflies ever romp together, or hassle, or join in song just for the sake of singing. But otters and lions do. And all humans do, until their playfulness is trained out of them.
    Jim T

      1. Isabel Gibson

        Barbara – Yikes. I won’t say it puts me off eating honey, but it does make me feel guilty. It’s a bit like reading a book in a weekend, when you know it took at least a year to write.

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