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Letter from the Publisher: Leap into February!

by on January 29, 2020 12:01 PM

February has an extra day this year, as part of leap year. While this happens every four years, most of us really don’t give it much thought. What is a leap year and why do we need it?  

It seems that we need leap years to maintain our current calendar’s alignment with Earth’s revolutions around the sun.

According to timeanddate.com, it takes Earth approximately 365.242189 days, or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds, to circle once around the sun. However, the Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in a year. If we didn't add a leap day on February 29 nearly every four years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year. “After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by around 24 days!” the site notes.

So we enjoy an extra day every four years (with one exception every century or two) to keep our daily schedule in alignment with the universe.

The extra day is added to February, as it is the shortest month of the year. Unfortunately, February is the month that produces the most snow in central Pennsylvania. It is also typically the second coldest month of the year in our region. Wouldn’t it be great if we could add that extra day to July or August?

As a lifelong native of western and central Pennsylvania, the snow, ice, and cold weather is simply a part of life. After all, our weather is predicted by a groundhog in Punxsutawney.

Many of us have more than a few snow shovels in our garage, but we’ll ultimately pull out the one with the loose handle during the heaviest snowfall. Road salt is stored in recycled cat litter containers and seems to run out during the first ice storm. While searching for more road salt, I recently discovered a few full sandbags from the days when I was driving a rear-wheel drive car. Every Veterans Day, I would place the sandbags in the trunk over the rear axles for greater traction. This time, that vintage sand had to do in place of the missing salt.

But spring will be here sooner that you expect. By February 29, there will be only a few weeks of winter remaining. In Centre County, winter is considered officially over on St. Patrick’s Day. In a few months, we will be complaining about how short spring was and how hot it is outside.

Soon the cycle will repeat itself. It’s just another trip around the sun. Enjoy it!

 

 

Bernard A. Oravec

Publisher

[email protected]

 

 

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