Billy here: The planet Jupiter is bright in the East after dark. The moon is already growing again and will be full next week on the exact day of the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. It could be said that the beginning of spring is next week. I am seeing little sprouts in the ground. Some trees, confused by the Pacific warmth, are already flowering. I feel spring rising in my energy levels, shaking off the slumbers and sicknesses of the winter. Each day the Sun rises a minute earlier. The days stretch out slowly as the Earth’s path around the Sun moves the tilt of the Northern Hemisphere toward the Sun. In just two months our 9.5 hours of daylight will stretch to 12 hours of daylight. The full moon after equinox will bring another lunar eclipse. Since Samhain of last year, the full moons and new moons have been aligned with the winter solstice and the cross quarter days between the solstice and the equinoxes. In fact, this Spring Equinox will fall on a new moon near the node and a total solar eclipse will occur. Alas, the eclipse will only be visible from the far Northern Scandinavian archipelagos such as the Faroe Islands.
The moon follows a nineteen year cycle where a certain phase will happen again on the same day. So last year the new moon happened on Winter Solstice and nineteen years later, the new moon will be on the Winter Solstice again. Also, every 18.6 years the moon completes a full cycle of lunar standstills. This year, the moon is at a minor standstill during the month after the Autumn Equinox. If we lived in the same place all our lives, we could set up stones where the moon rises at its most northern and southern spots on the horizon and watch the cycles of this breathing spiral uncurl over the span of nearly two decades.
Night time is amazing to me. The opacity of day melts away into an opening into the entire Universe. Our consciousness could be like that, an opening, letting the opacity drop away until the Galaxy shines through. It has been said that in order to free up our energy to perceive as widely as possible, we have to let go of sinking our energy into our sense of self importance, of how we look to the world beyond our little selves. Nothing shrinks me down to size like looking out into the sky, thinking that there are at least 100 billion planets in our galaxy alone and at least 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe…
Spence here: I have heard of “Murmurs of Earth” or the Golden Record–the Voyager Interstellar Record by Carl Sagan and associates. This record, attached to both Voyager I and Voyager II probes, launched in 1977, contains 116 images, mathematical equations, hopeful greetings in 55 languages, natural sounds and music, carrying a representation of life on Earth to life beyond, which may be reached in space. I am happy to be reminded of it as I read the chapter called “The Voyagers” in Linda Hogan’s book Dwellings. I have always been fascinated by time capsules. I like to think about what I would put in one. I appreciate the hope and optimism the Golden Record conveys. I also find it heart-breaking, as I have been reading about Alberta, Canada and the tar sands pollution this week. It is akin to meeting a new friend and then having them steal from you. The conduct of humans as citizens of Earth has not become the representation encapsulated in this record.
Recently, I read about one of the oldest known time capsules being opened. It was buried on July 4, 1795 by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. Reported to be inside is not quite the exciting collection of objects to me–old newspapers, gold coins from 1652, a medal depicting George Washington, a silver plate and other governmental memorabilia–how inclusive and creative! How about potsherds, feathers, skulls, drawings or jewelry?
Lately, I am more interested in life as a mirrored image of stars in the sky. I have been thinking of this, since my learning of Voyager I leaving the heliosphere and travelling further into space than any other human object, as well as our glimpsing of the comet Lovejoy last week. Looking through binoculars and the hazy Pacific Northwest atmosphere, it is wondrous to me to view the fuzzy patch of dust and ice, hurtling through space. I like to think of that dust, that hopeful, energetic, propelled dust being a part of me. We are of the same elements. New and old in this holographic universe, where our reality is created by us and how we interpret our past and future path. I look up and I study the branches of the trees, the cobwebs, the birds–I appreciate the idea of all the entities and creatures reflecting all aspects, different moods and ways of being. I look to the ground and take my glasses off. I can see the dirt moving and feel microscopic creatures in there, a trail of them going in a spiral like the galaxy! The ocean holds the same creatures in the waves as in a nest or the Milky Way holds.
We took a nice walk in a cold sunshine this week. I am hoping to volunteer at a non-profit bike shop and Billy and I are working on a secret art project, perhaps to be unveiled next month. The music studio is awaiting a new ceiling, but we’re hoping to get some music practice in anyway. I am looking forward to the International Film Festival here in Portland–a chance to get another perspective. On the reading list: The Tao of Travel, by Paul Theroux (he wrote a fun train-journey book called The Great Railway Bazaar), Riding to the Tigris by Freya Stark and Far Distant Echo by Fred Marks and Jay Timmerman (for all you canoe-enthusiasts out there). Happy winter reading–see you after Groundhog Day! Let our thoughts of Utopia in the Golden Record give us strength to carry on what we know to be good work and tidings to all beings.
Friends of space, how are you all? Have you eaten yet? Come visit us if you have time.
–Murmurs of Earth, Sentiment from Eastern China