Saturday, March 23, 2019
THE CLARITY AND COLD today in my northeast Ohio arrived with a high-pressure system encompassing us from the North. It gives my northeast Ohio the rare potential to see the Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights) tonight.
The possibility brings a lovely memory from the 1980s, when my middle teenage son Bryan had quietly awakened me around midnight."Shh" he whispered to me. "Come out to the deck! There's something you just HAVE to see!" ... And there it was above us! THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!
In gratitude and awe, we watched the long performance and its hours of bright, green, swirling color. Somehow it even seemed to carry its own music. (Though I guess I knew that classic sound was in my head).
I had seen the Northern Lights a few times as a child, but in the city where I lived, I never saw more than faded versions of what I would see in later years, at my country home, with my son Bryan.
It was magical, a spectacle! We didn't doze a bit; we watched until the Lights were gone; and it was more than worth remembering
Will I see it tonight? It's hard to say. I will try, but I'm much older now.
And suddenly and unexpectedly, this 79-year-old just seems to need a LOT MORE SLEEP than I needed in those years!
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
THIS MORNING AT 6:30, the moon awoke me suddenly, peering through my bedroom window from the western horizon.
Golden, round and and perfectly full, it threw its full range of color into the rippling waters of my creek. It approached the tree-tops and prepared to set, and I lay there with my eyes wide open, watching as it took its time in disappearing, leaving me in total darkness...
And then I rose from my bed and brewed my coffee and waited for daybreak...
THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING!
LAST NIGHT'S MOON at 10 pm, looking down at me from the top of my valley world, drew me outside despite the brisk air. Surprisingly, even competing against the beauty of that moon, the stars shone big and bright against a sky so crystal-clear it still seemed blue. The air around my valley home was luminous, and I stood outside, transfixed, for quite some time...
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
TOMORROW IS THE VERNAL EQUINOX... the official beginning of spring.
(The word equinox comes from the Latin words aequus for equal, and nox for night). Because our planet doesn’t orbit upright but instead is tilted on its axis, the equinox is the time when the Northern and Southern hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light and warmth most directly.
That occurs twice each year, once in spring and once in fall, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is inclined neither away from nor toward the sun. At this point, the Earth’s two hemispheres receive the sun’s rays equally, and night and day are approximately equal in length.
As an inhabitant of the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere, you may have noticed over the past weeks that the sun has been rising earlier and setting later. You may have noticed, too, that the sun at sunrise and sunset has gradually been changing its position southward and northward.
And if you live on a curving highway as I do, it's fun to know equinox day is a good time to determine due east and due west from your property. Simply stand at a certain spot and watch to see the points at which the sun rises and sets, in relation to other landmarks on your property. Those two points are due east and due west!
Now you know, whether you wanted to or not!