Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy Summer Solstice, Y'all1

Love me some summer solstice.2 Who doesn't like a good longest day of the year (except those nasty vampires), plenty of sunshine and pagan rituals and such. Good times. I'm also a fan of the equinoxes, and I'll even grant a grudging admiration for the winter solsticeI don't much care for long dreary nights, but any major event in the sun's annual orbit is worthy of respect. (And at least the days start getting longer from there — though conversely, they start getting shorter from here. Doh!) Enjoy your prancing around Stonehenge or whatever it is you do to mark the occasion.

1 Oops, I'm a day late. (Actually 14 hours and 58 minutes late). I fell asleep last night while writing this post. (Prior to proof-reading, I wrote "feel assleep". I need coffee.) Oh, well. You  get what you get and you don't get upset.

2 In truth, I probably wouldn't even have realized that today was the summer solstice except that I'm currently deeply enamored with this previously mentioned charming little iPhone app, Sol: Sun Clock, which simply (and beautifully) visualizes one's progress through the daily solar cycle: morning, solar noon,  afternoon, the evening "golden hour",3 sunset, the various gradations of dusk (civil, nautical, astronomical — I never knew dusk had so many flavors), night, solar midnight, more night, the various gradations of pre-dawn, sunrise, the morning "golden hour", rinse, repeat... (The app figures out the exact durations and timings of these things for your particular spot in the world.) And it also blips by relevant little tidbits of information: length of day and night, time of sunrise and sunset, and — the blip that prompted this post — the time from or until the nearest solstice or equinox. (As I write this, I'm informed that it's 3 hours and 42 minutes after the exact summer solstice. (Well it was when I actually wrote that sentence last night, before falling asleep. (Eesh, this is getting into some temporally complicated territory.))) The app has essentially no practical purpose, at least not in my life, but I find myself checking it regularly just for the pleasure of seeing where I'm at in this age-old loopty-loop: modern technology reconnect with the eternal cycles of nature: funny business.

3 The morning and evening "golden hours" aren't, apparently, "official" slices of the daily cycle, just generally recognized swaths of the day that occur roughly 10 degrees (give or take) after sunrise and before sunset, the time when the sun's light comes crosswise through the sky, shimmering that luminous golden glow (hence the name) and alighting the world in radiant beauty. The golden hours are ace times for snapping photos. They infuse even humdrum nothingness with a profound and luminous glow.

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