Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year, 10 days late

The sun is, slowly, starting its swing northward again.
The darkest 3 weeks of the year ends tomorrow.

Delaware Bay sunset, early winter.

In these parts, the swing from where the sun sets today and where it will late June is just over 60 degrees, a huge chunk of the horizon. Degrees mean little to most folks now, no need anymore.

60 degrees is the chunk of a circle eaten by 10 minutes on an analog clock, but that's a dead reference now.

When was the last time you held a compass? When will you ever need to again?

The loss of the literal face of time on clocks is not much of an issue, but it does bear witness to our culture's loss of connection with the origin of hours, of minutes, of seconds.

That the sun rise, sets, then rises again is not a subtle piece of knowledge. That it slips its way along the horizon is also not subtle, if you spend anytime outside, yet many folks miss this.

Delaware Bay sunset, mid-summer
The arc of the sun's path on any given day is slightly different than it was the day before or after. In these parts, despite what my teachers taught me, the sun is never directly overhead. For most days, the sun is not at its highest point when our clocks announce noon.

We no longer tell time by the sky.
If we did, noon would be when the sun was at its highest point, and 6 P.M would mark sunset.
The hours today would be shorter than the hours in June, which would be fine with me, mammal that I am.

We're pressed for time, because somebody somewhere needs to meet some abstract deadline for (too often) an abstract idea that has nothing to do with what any of us needs.

We teach using a modern, abstract, and artificial concept of time.
Meanwhile a bored child watches the slow edge of a shadow cross the wall.

Most of us around here celebrate the New Year tomorrow, the first day of a month named after Janus, a two-faced god conceived by Romans.

Me? Mine started with the winter solstice 10 days ago, with the end of the southern slide of our sun.

Happy New Year 10 days late!

No comments: