All posts tagged: Earth’s axial tilt

It’s Time to Reinvent the Seasons

It’s Time to Reinvent the Seasons

In a strip of soil outside my house, between the sidewalk and the curb, there’s a living symbol of the seasons. In winter, it is a sleeping skeleton, branches bare except for the occasional mantle of ice or snow. In early spring, tufts of pale leaves burst from gray bark. By summer, its overlapping foliage is a vivid green, fluttering in the slightest breeze. Around this time every year, it gradually catches fire, tinges of red spreading through the cells of each leaf until they all glow. As the maple tree finishes reabsorbing its stores of chlorophyll and sealing itself against the coming chill, it allows its leaves to fall to the ground—and the cycle continues. The seasons have shaped humanity for millions of years. When our ancestors migrated across continents, dramatic fluctuations in the weather determined what was available to hunt and gather; demanded innovation in clothing, shelter, and transportation; and dictated agricultural practices. Perhaps the long, hard winters of glacial periods encouraged early humans to linger in caves, which became incubators of art …