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Shelter Island spring is here — well, officially tonight

Today is the first day of spring, the vernal equinox occurring officially at 11:06 p.m. , according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

The sun, the Old Farmer tells us, is over the equator and making its journey north.

In the northern hemisphere (that‘s you, Shelter Island) the earth begins to be tilted more toward the sun, and starting tomorrow there will be “increasing daylight hours and warming temperatures,” according to that Old Framer, who should know.

According to The National Weather Service (NWS), today will be a brisk, sunny day with a high temperature near 45 degrees. The wind will be out of the west at 11 to 14 mph.

Tonight, it will be mostly cloudy, with a low around 37 degrees and the wind will shift to the southwest at around 8 mph, according to the NWS.

As we have noted before, besides the annual celebration of the start of the season — the debaucheries of Spring Break — one rite of spring in particular is worth a trip to Chichen Itza in Mexico.

The Mayans built a temple in the form of a pyramid there 2,000 years ago that coordinated the sun’s light at equinoxes to make interesting effects on the temple’s facade.

For the first day of spring, sunlight hits the stone pyramid and shimmers, which the Mayans said looks like a snake sliding down, and is called “the return of the Sun Serpent.”

Human sacrifice was also a fairly common occurrence at Chichen Itza, which Spring Break has so far successfully avoided.

We like the brevity of the observation by Robin (perfect name for the day) Williams, who summed the whole thing up by saying: “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'”

And the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who said,  “It is spring again. The earth is like a child who knows poems by heart.”

Happy Spring to all.