Cieslewicz_JN

JAKE NAUGHTON/Herald photo

Despite remaining snow and persistently cold temperatures,
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz on Friday declared the official start of spring in
Madison was Sunday at 2 a.m.

Typically the official start of spring is March 20, but a
suggestion from Darren Bush, owner of a local paddle sport shop called
Rutabaga, persuaded Cieslewicz to move the date up two weeks because of
unusually harsh conditions citizens had to endure this winter.

According to George Twigg, spokesperson for Cieslewicz, the
mayor wanted citizens to look forward to spring and forget about subzero
temperatures and record snowfall experienced over the past months.

?It has been a long winter ? tough all around,? Twigg said.
?I think everyone is looking forward to spring and getting back out on the
Union Terrace and enjoying some warm weather.?

A leisurely bike ride gone wrong triggered Bush?s proposal
to push the date back to March 9, he said.

?I went for a bike ride last Sunday, hit some ice and went
down really hard,? Bush said. ?That made me really grumpy, and I said we are
done. I called the mayor?s office, and I thought he would ignore it, but it
worked.?

Bush said he spoke with University of Wisconsin astronomy
professor Jim Lattis to see exactly how to make spring come earlier.

According to Lattis, the actual advancement of spring would
require a large object, such as Jupiter, to increase the gravitational pull on
Earth, which would cause serious ramifications.

?There would be environmental problems in causing the earth
to shift so rapidly,? Lattis said. ?It would change ocean currents, disrupt
tidal patterns and just all kinds of stuff that would certainly have permanent
effects.?

Lattis said this suggestion was impractical and proposed to
simply change the date, although this would not change the weather any sooner.

?The time change is something we do have control over,?
Lattis added. ?Symbolically we have declared spring by the changing of the
clocks, but it is kind of an arbitrary choice as to when to declare spring.?

According to Bush, the early declaration might make spring
come a little earlier this year.

?It is kind of like Peter Pan; if everyone just wishes
really hard it will happen,? Bush said. ?If we can talk ourselves into a
recession, we can talk ourselves into spring.?

Lattis said the mayor?s decision to officially start spring
early would get citizens? minds looking ahead.

?We need some psychological relief, and we need some reason
to start thinking about spring,? Lattis said. ?It is really a matter of what we
all agree to do together. If we all agree to start acting like it?s spring, I
think it will change our attitude and make us all be a little happier.?

According to Twigg, the mayor agrees the early declaration
will convince citizens to look ahead to warm weather.

?Every little bit helps,? Twigg said. ?Spring is a state of
mind to some degree, so let us declare it spring and hope for the best.?