Skip to main content

A thought on two unrelated astronomical occurrences

1) This coming Sunday will be the earliest sunset in 2019.  This notion is confusing and I have had several people tell me it makes no sense because it is not the shortest day of the year. But it is true, the earliest sunset comes before the solstice. (And the latest sunrise comes after the solstice. Here’s a good explanation: https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/equation-of-time.html)

As I am not a morning person, it is the later sunsets that matter most to me. Knowing that the night darkness will begin later each day, if only by seconds, cheers me. I am better able to embrace the winter, appreciate all four seasons, when I know we will begin to have light later into the day.

2) Last week, as I was coming home from late-day errands, noting how early it was for it to be dark, one car at a shopping center exit was insistently coming into the flow of traffic, although we on the roadway were moving steadily. Not wanting to hit that car, I ignored the beeping behind me and stopped to let the car into the lane.

That pause allowed me a greater reward than avoiding an accident.  As I came around the next curve, I was in the perfect position, which I surely would not have been had I not stopped for the insistent driver, to see right in front of me, seemingly just a bit out of reach, sudden, unexpected, intense: a shooting star.

Joy shot through me. A fleeting sight of the brilliance and it was gone. And I have only to call it up in my mind’s eye and feel that joyous thrill again.

So my thought that connects these two occurrences?

The predictability of the changing of the daylight, round the whole of the year, year after year, steadies us and lets us plan, lets us know, more or less, what’s coming and when. 

And the unpredictability of a sudden natural phenomenon gives us the reminder that we don’t know all that is coming and that joy can jump right in front of us with no warning.

No matter whether they happen in the sky or on the ground or in the heart, having both is essential.



Elaine Learnard
Conscience Bay Friends Meeting 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Time

My mind has been thinking about time and how it seems to be different now with all of what is happening. First there is COVID-19 and our stay-in-place semi-lockdown.  For those who have full-time jobs, and even for those who don't, we schedule things around moments in time.  Our lives are routine-based:  when we get up, when we eat, when we work, when we have time for family, when we have time to ourselves, when we sleep, etc.  When our routines are disrupted, many of us feel out of sorts or even lost.  What happened?  Why is this happening?  When is it (routine) coming back?  I've heard that there are many Americans who find it difficult to take a vacation, a real vacation of a week or two, because it takes them away from their work for too long.  As we are gradually allowed to come back to our former lives before COVID-19, perhaps we will have a better sense of time, our old time.  But then again, maybe time will never be the same.      George Floyd was killed senselessly an

Make even these days count

One of the most popular features on a local newscast of a small TV station is something rather surprising. It is a feature called- “The Day of the Week”.  Today is…….. Monday!  The station put forth this as a kind of joke at first, but it was so popular that it became a regular daily addition to the morning newscast.  Apparently, so many of us have lost track of what day it is that we need a reminder. During this stay-at-home time, every day seems to blend into the next.  It is truly difficult to remember how many days we have all been quarantined at home, what the date is and what day of the week it is.  Many of us have a few markers that help- jobs that pause for the weekend, celebrations of Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays- special days of worship.  But even with these, the days seem to bleed into each other like a striped shirt washed in hot water. The period that we are in right now in the Jewish calendar is ironically, a time of counting. A time when we purposely try to keep
I did not want to write about this virus-time. I did not think I could.  Another piece was in my mind this week, not quite yet taking shape. But when I sat to write, the virus took my attention and I could not wrest it back.   There are useful and funny memes online, and stories of good will and good works, and words of inspiration and comfort. And terrible stories, too.  Mostly at a distance, we have been sharing dance and art and music, facts and opinions, cautionary tales and fairy tales. We miss hugs and doing projects and working and learning together in person. Sometimes we are in a bubble for a while that lets us just be, free of anxiety or fear.  Sometimes we cannot get out of bed.  Sometimes we cannot sleep.  Sometimes we eat all the chocolate and sometimes we eat nothing.  We who are privileged live like this.  We are grateful to the people who work at the jobs we need to have done even in the face of the danger and I believe we do not understand a fraction o