Sunrise today is at 7:55, sunset will be at 4:21, and there is a whole single second's more light today than yesterday and I am going to enjoy every bit of it.
Our house faces mostly north and south. Yesterday, the sun didn't even get above our southern horizon. Shadows abound in our yard, moss grows everywhere, and it was only at the highest point of the sun's trek across the sky that we would have even seen it rather than it's light. At the other end of the year, at the Summer Solstice, the sun is so far north that it sets well behind the cityscape I posted yesterday, the sky between the buildings will be a deep transparent blue at 10 pm and they'll glow at the 5 am hour.
As I get older I find myself noting the subtle changes in everyday things like sunrise and sunset, the beginning leaf buds on the lilacs, the rise and fall of the water in the creek in front of the store... it is easy to feel removed from nature, the very world I move through but am not physically a part of: I am in a car and then in a store and then in a car and then in a house. Too easy to be removed from the very things that connect us not only to the natural world but to those that connect us to each other, the things that we all experience. The sun rises and sets for all of us, the eclipse was seen all over the world, winds blow, water rises, and we should take a moment at some point in the day and notice what's going on around us.
I guess I really like the idea that these things will continue long after I'm gone and that my atoms and skin dust will merge with the other motes that make up the pollution that brilliants up a sunset. My only true legacy will be the effect my ashes will have on roots and skies. That's long term, huh?
I sent a facebook note to my sister-in-law about going out and looking at the sky the night of the eclipse and she wrote back, "Couldn't you just hear the phone ring last night..."Make sure you watch the eclipse tonight. Won't be again in your lifetime." Can't help but think of her (my mom) during times like that."
My mom, like most, I'm sure, woke us up every time a rocket was sent into space. We watched as they went up and came back, we went to the moon, we watched for UFOs, we tracked satellites, we talked about what might be out there, and I like to think that she is watching for us to look up (well, I guess I am assuming that she would have gone up after death. Hmmm.).
Some people made popcorn and watched movies, we'd get up in the middle of the night, wrap up in blankets and go out barefoot to look at the sky. I loved the feeling of being among the small cozy group who were doing the same thing at the same time. We were the beginning of the whole flash mob thing stretched wide across the world!
Anyhoo-Mom's birthday was Christmas Eve. We celebrate her birthday, the change in the season, lights on the houses, the glitter that catches every little piece of shine, and the absolute brilliance of the stars when the cold crackles.
Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, go outside without your coat and take a deep breath. I'll be thinking of you.
PS-the eclipse photo at the beginning of the post is from Don Emmert's collection of photos from the Seattle Times yesterday. Amazing pictures from around the world. Interesting to see how different the crescents are from one hemisphere to the other.