I like to think about days when the same thing is happening all over the world, and, as far as I can figure, there are only two days when this is true: the equinoxes, when day and night are the same length. Unfortunately for me, for astronomically complicated reasons, the equal length thing actually happened several days ago. But these are the only two days (all over the world) when the sun rises directly in the east, and sets directly in the west, so if you’re directionally challenged, you’ll be able to find your way around today (if only at dawn and dusk).
And there are equinox celebrations all over the world: at the Great Sphinx, built to point directly at the sunrise on this day; at Stonehenge, where the gates are open for dressed-up Druids hoping for no clouds; and in Iran on NoRuz, New Year’s Day, when the mythical Persian king Jamshid defeated evil and rose, his jeweled throne lit by the sun, into the sky.
But for the best visual celebration of all, imagine an architecture student with the following assignment: design a monument so that today, when the sun is setting, the lengthening shadows on the western façade look like a writhing snake.
The Toltec did it, twelve centuries ago, at Chichen Itza in Mexico.
Contrast that magnificent design with what happened six years ago today, courtesy of our mythical king Bush: the invasion of Iraq.