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Friday, November 19, 2010


Last night on a national news broadcast about lots of snow in Calgary the announcer mentioned that winter had still not begun. She, along with the rest of the world, seems to think that the seasons begin and end on the solstices and equinoxes. I don't agree. It seems to me that the solstices and equinoxes generally mark the middle of the seasons, not their ends. Take winter for example. December 21 is the solstice that ostensibly marks the end of autumn and the beginning of winter. I don't know where these people live but here, by December 21, it has been cold for some time. November is not exactly t-shirt or bikini weather in Victoria. Another problem with using the solstices and equinoxes to mark the beginnings/ends of seasons is that winter, spring, summer and autumn are not the same length. I'd say winter here is about 5 months long, spring is about 3 months long, summer is about a month long and autumn is about three months long. So, those of you who are slavishly devoted to the calendar can think of this as autumn if you will. As far as I am concerned, this is winter. Above, taken while I braved the icy northern blasts of Pacific gales, is a photo of the strait of Juan de Fuca. The large ship is a container vessel and the smaller ship is the Victoria Clipper, a high speed catamaran passenger ferry that operates between Victoria Harbor and Seattle.


Dean Lewis said...

Yep, that looks cold alright.
There's even been snow on the island here over the last few days.
I look at that massive body of water and knowing it is a pretty consistent 9 degrees celsius year-round, helps me remember just how much it really tempers our winters from being far colder.
Other parts of the country have annual swings from +30C to -30C, while we are more like +25 to +5C.
It almost feels 'unCanadian' here.

Randy said...

I can only imagine what the cold is like there. Beautiful photo!

JoJo said...

In Washington we have 4 seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, End of Winter and Road Construction. ;p

You are right about the solstices and equinoxes. I never understood how winter could possibly begin on December 21. I grew up in New England and it was wintery by the end of October. But solstices and equinoxes are based upon the sun's position during the year, not techincally the seasons.

One small correction: The Clipper is a high speed catamaran, not a hydroplane.

Jack said...

I don't know what season it is there (I'll take your word for it), but it is pretty.

Benjamin Madison said...

Dean - it snowed here last night. Brrr.

JoJo - Ha ha. And thanks for the correction. I've changed the post.

Randy, Jack - yes it is lovely in a bleak, cold way.

LinWots said...

I do not like seas or oceans. Endless water scares me!