More than two dozen people braved the chill wind Friday night to gather at the Cesar Chavez Memorial Solar Calendar to celebrate and become more educated about the Vernal Equinox. Santiago Casal, whose inspiration and hard work brought the Solar Calendar into being, spoke briefly at the outset about Cesar Chavez and the virtue of Hope. Chavez, he pointed out, was a simple man, deeply concerned about the land and the people who worked it. He was an outspoken opponent of the chemicals spread on the fields, poison to the farmworkers and ultimately to the consumers. He knew and respected the seasons and the rhythms of nature.
Then Lori Lambertson, on the teaching staff of the Exploratorium in San Francisco, gave an interactive and kinetic workshop on the reasons for the seasons. She had the audience circling and spinning and tilting around the gnomon (the pointer in the middle of the solar calendar) just like the earth does around the sun. It was enlightening for the mind and pretty good exercise for the body. The main reason for the seasons, she explained, is that the earth tilts about 23 degrees off the vertical, with the result that as it revolves in its orbit around the sun, sometimes the lower half and at other times the upper half of the globe gets more rays.
A talk about the equinox in Iran, where it marks the beginning of Norooz, the Persian New Year, concluded the ceremony.
The next celebration of the seasons will be on the occasion of the Summer Solstice. Watch this space for details.