Sunday, June 21, 2009

From Left to Right. Until Tonight.

Something I didn't know before we moved here: That when Venus sets into the water, she casts a tiny trail of reflected light. Like a pinprick moon sinking down into the lake. Who knew a mere planet could do that? Not me. That's for sure. I hadn't seen, either, that a gull will chase an eagle and that the eagle seems to take that rather seriously.

I was ignorant about a ton of other things actually, but there's one that's particularly pertinent to today's post.The sunset moves. (What the heck?) A lot. And not just from early until late through winter and into spring. Not merely from 5:00 p.m. until 9:05. Left to right. From
way over there, to way over here.

From the winter solstice, back on December 21, to the summer one, which is today, the sun swings wide across our horizon on its way to splashdown on June 21. From left of the Northeast Yacht Club harbor -- almost out of our sight -- around the back of the house, to where tonight it will shine in through the kitchen door. Right in my eyes when I'm fixing dinner. It will still be in plain view from the kitchen deck when it collapses into a thin little spark and vanishes. At 9:05 tonight.

I suppose lots and lots of more knowledgeable people than me already knew that. And most of them probably understand more about how it all works than I do. But I also have noted that quite a few people whom I consider to be smart and capable don't know this either. "You're kidding!" they say. And I feel a little better.

So. The days have been getting longer ever since I took that photo last December 21 until today. The sun started its trip that evening and now it's turning back. Official time will linger at 9:05 until July 5th when it will clock out at 9:04. But after tonight, the sun will be heading, almost imperceptibly but inexorably, back to December again.

How does that make me feel. Okay, I guess. There's a lot of summer left. In fact, since it wasn't officially summer until today, I shouldn't be too torn up about it. But it is a marker. In December I always feel ever so slightly better, even with winter stretching from there until May. So on June 21 I always feel a little twinge of worse.

But never mind. It's a lovely afternoon in June. (And did Henry James not conclude that "Summer afternoon" are the most beautiful words in the English language?) We can still count on a few more days that last until 9:05 and lots of twilights that linger in a band of rose on the horizon until 11:00.

But it's all downhill from here.

June 21, 2009

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