At 12:14 (EST) on March 20 the sun passed for a brief moment at the intersection between the celestial equator and the ecliptic. Ok, so what? It took me a while to figure it out online and on Wikipedia: the celestial equator is «a projection of the terrestrial equator out into space», an imaginary circle in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. The ecliptic, on the other hand, is the «apparent path that the sun follows through the sky over the course of the year». Twice a year the sun happens to be at the intersection between the two and that moment is called the “equinox”, a Latin-derived word used to indicate the date when the night and day have equal length.

 

 

 

 

Is everything clear? Well, good. Because I still don’t get it completely. More importantly, though, is the fact that I don’t really care about what the sun does along imaginary lines drawn in the sky. For me, just one thing happened on the 20th: Spring 2012 started! Colors, smells, flowers and sunny days began taking over our lives again, isn’t that wonderful? In Washington DC, for example, this year’s spring had a rocking start: the peak of cherry blossom seasn was exactly on March 20!

Everybody knows what I’m  talking about, the symbol par excellence of the capital’s spring: the 3,000 cherry trees donated by Japan in 1912 to the United States and planted around Washington’s Tidal Basin. They reach full bloom in early spring, giving tourists and locals a breathtaking view of the area.

 

 

The National Cherry Blossom Festival, which is going on during these weeks, is dedicated to the event. With an average temperature about 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) above normal, the festival is also a perfect excuse to take  my spring outfit out of the closet and go for a walk on the Mall. I love spring!

In few minutes, I became a kind of fashion-star. At least ten people stopped me, asking where I got my fancy sunglasses, my cool top and my amazing pants.

Where? Are you kidding me? In Italy, of course!

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