This is a date that seems to be the cause of much confusion.
Meteorologically, it is counted as the beginning of March (with March, April and May making up Spring). Astronomically, spring starts on the vernal equinox – the point half way(ish*) between the summer and winter solstices (a date that is getting earlier as time goes on). In other places, it can begin on the 1st (Ireland) or 2nd (USA – according to a groundhog) of February. ‘President’s Day’ is also sometimes counted making spring start on the Tuesday after the third Monday in February – this year that was the 19th.
Some define the seasons by the general weather. Winter is when it’s cold and miserable, Summer is when it isn’t. Spring and Autumn then just have to try and get noticed where they can by squeezing into the gaps and giving us snow drops and crunchy leaves. This leaves two problems. Firstly, and I’m looking at you 2012, what if it’s always cold and miserable? And secondly, by the very nature of weather there is no pivotal moment, no great switch to be turned to warm and then to hot as we move through the calendar. This doesn’t help the first day of spring question.
What we need is a clear cut yes/no “is it spring yet?” decider. I have discovered one. One that should save any confusion and with no inconveniences at all. From here on in, I shall be declaring the start of Spring on the day that I can return from a ride with full feeling in my feet. The day that numbness recedes is the day that it is suitably springlike. Summer is officially here when I no longer need a second pair of socks. I am slightly worried that we’ll never get out of winter at this rate.