Today is the Equinox! Or…Was it Yesterday?

It is so much fun being in the southern hemisphere. A couple people here in SA mentioned yesterday about it being the first day of Spring here, and I didn’t correct them. Because it is a technicality. Because having received correction from the “Grammar Police” here at Traveling Marla, I know how crappy it is to be on the receiving end of a technicality correction when you know the person correcting you has missed the point entirely.

And the point is, it is Spring here in South Africa, and Autumn back home, and whether they occurred yesterday or today, the change of season is exciting.

But for those who can’t move on until you understand, the equinox date is different due to the time zone. It’s not always a different date, though. In March, when the equinox was around 1pm back in the states, it was 6pm the same day here in ZA. But for September, the equinox was 10:29pm back home, and not until 02:29 UTC. So for here, at UTC+2, that was 04:29 this morning. And as much as I was tempted, I did not wake my husband fifteen minutes before his alarm and shout “Happy Spring!” as I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be impressed.

travel Africa roses
Our yard is filled with pink and white roses planted by the landlord. With permission I added yellow roses and can’t wait to see them bloom this year.

In any case, South Africa celebrates Spring at the beginning of September, regardless of the Equinox. School kids get to have a casual dress day, and there are some braai parties and general goodwill that the weather is beginning to turn. Tomorrow is a national holiday, Heritage Day (aka Braai Day) and I know I’ll be drooling as I drive past all the families cooking delicious food.

At home I would be dressed in my warm clothes about now. My Autumn would include many Salted Caramel Mochas and a goofy Halloween costume. I would be watching the school bus trundling kids back and forth to school after a long summer break as I grumbled through chopping all the firewood I didn’t get finished in too much free time spent in the hammock under the ash tree.

What do I love about Spring in South Africa?

Well, my flowering bushes called “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” are in full bloom and with such an abundant fragrance that it far almost surpasses the smell of freshly strewn manure across the Silver Lakes lawns. Seriously it’s the most amazing plant. I cut and bring it into the house while it’s in bloom and it fills every room. I wish my blog had scratch-n-sniff so I could share it with you. Of course that would mean I would also have to share the freshly fertilized lawn smell. 😉

travel Africa Spring flowers
The fragrance of a Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow plant is now my favorite floral scent.

Spring also means I get to watch our roses come alive again, and the male weavers furiously work to build nests and attract a female. (It also means I get to watch her rip it apart and see him start all over again.)  It’s the time of year I get crazy-envious as people begin posting photos of vast swathes of Namaqualand flowers (a trip we hope to take next spring). It means that the veld fires go away, and the charred earth begins turning to green again.  It means soon I’ll be smelling Jasmine in many areas, and seeing the purple blooms of Jacaranda trees.

Spring is when the fancy cars of Silver Lakes make more steady appearances at the local shopping centers, like those special yellow Lamborghini I couldn’t resist posing with when its owner disappeared into a shop.

travel South Africa yellow lamborghini
It was an entertaining moment at the shopping mall as many passersby took turns posing for photos with some guy’s car while he was in the store. I was impressed with how careful everyone was not to touch it, and eventually I had to take a turn with the fancy beast. I imagine this is fun to drive, but I’ll keep my Jeep.

And yes, I love that South African staple, the Braai. Tomorrow is Heritage Day here in South Africa, also known as Braai Day. If nothing else reminds people that Spring is here, it’s celebrating their heritage with a picnic and foods that represent them. For me that heritage is a good old-fashioned cook-out, so bring on the braai. Bring on the air that smells like charcoal and woodchips and grilled chops every weekend and holiday. The dams and picnic spots are filled with big extended families and the playgrounds overrun with kids. Our own holiday weekend will be spent braai’ing in Kruger, and I think I’m already drooling.

What’s your favorite part of Spring? If you’re in the states, what’s your favorite part about Autumn?

Happy Equinox, dear reader, whether it was yesterday, or whether it’s today.

Love, Marla

3 thoughts on “Today is the Equinox! Or…Was it Yesterday?

  1. How do you pronounce ‘Braai?’ Same as ‘Day?’

    Since I didn’t really get to enjoy summer (summer happened, right?), I’m letting myself thoroughly enjoy fall. =) Inside already has some Halloween decorations up, and I’m itching to put up the outside. I’m making myself wait until Oct 1st. =) This will be my first year with Trick or Treaters–I’m kinda excited. =D

  2. So you’ve been a victim of the GP?!!
    Surprisingly I’ve never had them correct me. I din’t they know it’s useless and that I’m hopeless so they don’t even try.
    Jacaranda isn’t a common tree in Europe, at least not in Spain. However, this year I was walking Doggy in a village 50 miles outside Seville and there was one, all those purple flowers, sticky purple flower. Doggy looked like a Christmas tree.
    Fall in here, northern Africa, is barely noticeable, days are getting shorter and humidity getting low which makes me happy. Sounded like “It’s raining men”
    Have a nice day Marla.

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