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Spring Cycles

Posted by William Fennie at Apr 25, 2010 02:46 AM |

Them trees are made for chopping . . . .

Spring Cycles

Little creatures - some of the many types of pollen, at 500x magnification (courtesy Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility)

Natural cycles

In this space a little under a year ago I wrote that "the first traces of green" could be seen on the trees from my lanai. This year we are precocious. The first traces came in early April and we are now with Spring in full swing, most of the trees having well-developed leaves by now.

We have lots of trees in Maryland and for some people the Spring is enough to make even a dedicated tree-hugger begin looking around for a chain saw. The Forestry Service of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture estimates that there are currently 159 mature trees on every acre of forested land in the state. Furthermore, it estimates a total of 2.6 million acres of forested land, which means that, without even considering Virginia across the river, there are over 413 million mature trees in Maryland. And beginning in early April every single one of them started having sex - spewing out pollen by the ton in the effort to make more timber. People whose cars are parked outside arrive at work in the morning with a kind of fuzzy green glow on their vehicle. No kidding.

Now, pollen is really small. It ranges, depending on the plant, from 3 to 200 microns in diameter. That means that to observe the details of a single pollen grain requires a microscope with 10x magnification, at the minimum. So a vehicle that is colored green by adherence and accumulation of pollen represents a number of individual pollen grains that probably approaches the number of hydrogen atoms in Lake Michigan or, since we're in Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay.

Driving back from Annapolis a few weeks ago I looked out the window of my car, nose sniffling, at the unending rows and rows of trees and, realizing the sheer scale of things, considered sending a bouquet of roses to the manufacturers of my preferred allergy medicine.

So what brought on the early Spring? Who knows? Except that we had a heat wave (around 90 one day) corresponding to the peak of MoonWobble which might have had something to do with it. Jim Renza tells me they had an epic Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington around the same time.

Astrological cycles

Speaking of that, the MoonWobble cycle ending early April saw the passage of a health care reform bill after more than a year of back-and-forth. An example of MoonWobble energy ("enough already!") pushing an intolerable situation to ultimate conclusion.

With just a whisper of respite we were treated to Mercury going retrograde on 18 April; it will go direct on 12 May. On the personal front I was treated to a flight delay leaving Dallas, where I was attending the Population Association of America annual meeting, and several other frustrations that would have annoyed me more had I not been aware of the change with Mercury. MoonWobble and Mercury retrograde energies often announce themselves in my personal world via computer problems and crazy drivers - this is a similarity between them. So when I know these cycles are coming I usually 1) back up my files regularly; and 2) slow down.

More seriously, during this Mercury retrograde, so far, we have seen the complete shut down of communication in northern Europe due to the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland (how do you say that ??). Plutonian intensity there, as well as the real Plutonian world coming into our own.

It's interesting, too, that reform of the financial system has moved onto the center stage very rapidly, especially considering the long, hard fight over health care. Saturn is heading for the last pair of exact oppositions in its back-and-forth process with Uranus before moving on. It will be exact on 27 April and continue its retrograde motion, going direct on 31 May and culminating this cycle with another exact opposition on 27 July. (As of today, many prognosticators predict that we will indeed see a financial reform bill some time during this period, probably early on.) This final opposition will happen in the Aries-Libra axis, and it will have a completely different character from what we have seen so far. Uranus moves into Aries on 28 May, just long enough to make this exact opposition, and quickly goes retrograde (on 6 July), moving back into Pisces on 14 August and staying there until 5 April 2011.

After that, the closest Saturn will come to an exact opposition to Uranus again will be in June 2011, with an orb of 6 degrees. Both planets will then be solidly in the Aries-Libra axis. The opposition in late July may correspond with an initiative that will come to fruition the following year. This could take any number of forms, but I'm inclined to think it will be related to immigration.

The first exact opposition of these planets occurred on 14 November 2008, along the Pisces-Virgo axis - a confrontation between revolutionary impulses and harsh realities playing out in the social-civil sphere. It's clear now that candidate Barack Obama's message was not necessarily smoke and mirrors, but it could not be accomplished in America's national life without the nation coming to terms with the economic and political realities that had been in full sway for many years.

It appears that this long, hard look in the mirror will be with us for at least another year, characterized by intense displays by those whose worldviews are being challenged and inexorable realizations - surprising or even devastating to some - of just how far America had become unmoored from its fundamental values.