Winter Solstice Analemma

analemmaDefinition of ANALEMMA

:  a plot or graph of the position of the sun in the sky at a certain time of day (as noon) at one locale measured throughout the year that has the shape of a figure 8; also :  a scale (as on a globe or sundial) based on such a plot that shows the sun’s position for each day of the year or that allows local mean time to be determined
an·a·lem·mat·ic adjective – Webster’s Dictionary
Beautiful photo, huh? The definition doesn’t do it justice.
The winter solstice makes me wonder…does the lowest dot on the analemma represent the shortest day of the year? (That would be just left of the center of the fluffy cloud, by the way.) As a non-scientist, the idea of photographing the position of the sun intrigues me for reasons I can’t fathom. Perhaps it’s the daily routine, the high-tech camera equipment required, or perhaps the end result…a gorgeous figure eight framing the graceful twist of infinity. My fascination with the analemma reminds me of the ancients’ creation of Stonehenge and the Anasazi’s pilgrimages to local formations which captured the sun as it rose, flooding the Earth with information and omens. The movements of the sun are still important to us because, like the Anasazi, we still seek signs from the sky, knowledge from the sun, anything to guide us through the universe.
This time of year, with its many religious and secular celebrations, I always feel a bit like these ancient folks. I’m confounded by the events of our world and in need of explanation of the mysteries of life. But, as a realist, I know these annual events are just that: beautiful, predictable, undeniable.
All the same, deep in there somewhere, mystery and hope overrides rationality. Maybe people long ago tapped the conduit to the heavens; maybe they were closer to the truth than we can ever be.
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Wonderful Solstice and Happy Holidays greetings, blogging friends:)
What mystical feelings do you ponder?
Analemma – NASA

Sharpies and Quill Pens

Thanks to Kirsten at http//ascenicroute.wordpress.com/ for inspiring my own visits with the muse.

orionOrion is tilting in the sky, creeping to the west, heralding spring. In a month, our planet will lean toward the Milky Way gifting those of us who live in dry, high climates the most gorgeous views of the stars from Earth.

However, my life has leaned away from the starry sky of writing, tilting toward life’s situations, spinning its own story.

My sometime muse, Juan Reyes, perches on the end of my desk, holding the fifth chapter of my current novel between thumb and forefinger like a piece of literary road kill.

“I suppose you hold me responsible for this mess?” he asks, winking at me.

He’s wearing the same clothes he wore the day of his death, the day I red-shirted him in my first novel with a bullet hole over the left breast pocket and sonic flame thrower burns down the front of his camera vest. His waist-length dreads are gathered at his neck with a silver clip. The high cheek bones of an Aztec priest and the confident grin of a talented, if dead, cosmic videographer still amaze me – I wrote this gorgeous creature.

I sniff. “Well, what do you think? You wandered off on some damned galactic vision quest, leaving me alone and look what happened.”

 He lights a cigarette, inhales deeply and smiles in my direction. I can almost smell the smoke.

smoke-1-2“My poor writer,” he whispers, his warm brown eyes glowing. “You just need a little jolt of enthusiasm, don’t you?”

Juan reaches over me and sweeps his hand across my computer screen leaving a swirl of  sparks in his wake. I glare at him.Juan's Hand

“Don’t short out this monitor with some vain attempt to enter the corporeal world,” I shout.  “It’s an iMac; it cost a fortune!”

He smiles the dark smile that broke hearts all over the universe as he shakes his head. “You twenty-first century writers  think this overpriced, slick equipment is going to mine the creative recesses of your brains. Much better authors than you wrote with quill pens, pencils, or Sharpies. They didn’t allow distractions to get in their way,  and they didn’t allow their personal lives to stop them.” His eyes glint at me and the edges of his body haze –  a sure sign he’s leaving.

“You made the choice, my writer, ” he says.  “You made the choice to concentrate on your life. Sometimes humans have to work the cards they’re dealt, but that means you have to look harder for inspiration. It is everywhere: in the imagination of friends, in the eyes of strangers, in the night sky. You just have to take the time and the courage to look.”

Juan blows me a kiss as the stars begin to glow through his body. “And, don’t forget, http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/ is just around the corner. I’ll be sending you short bursts of inspiration, 21-cm wavelengths from the stars , but you’ll have to be alert and ready to receive them.”

I grab the nearest paper and stubby pencil and scribble for a few minutes. When I look up again, he’s gone. But, I know he’ll be back, sooner than later. And I’ll be ready.

How do you find your way back from life on Earth to the realms of writing?

Photos from Foter, art from Clkr.

Glittering Shores of Cyberspace

Next time you’re on the login page, look down between News and VIP. Press the Stat button and be amazed. This is the coolest live map I’ve seen in a while. It’s a digital Mercator projection of our WordPress world. It pinpoints when and where people are blogging, liking, and commenting using WordPress. For a while, just watch it.message-in-a-bottle-2_l Blogs float up from the expected places: Western Europe, UK, and the North Americas. It’s the rest of the world that fascinates me. Every once in a while, dots of light flash from Malaysia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, India or Japan.

(Maybe I haven’t been watching closely enough, but so far I’ve seen nothing from Russia or China. North Korea remains ominously dark.)

Still, I love the thought someone is blogging while I’m watching, folks are shooting thoughts into the net, hoping someone will snatch their virtual message in a bottle from the glittering shores of cyberspace. Even if I never read their blogs I know, like the stars, other people are out there, expressing their hopes and fears, creativity and humor, dark places and light sides.

Somehow I feel connected, closer to my invisible sisters and brothers. Call me a Borg, but it comforts me watching the pulse of our collective intellect.

Why do you blog? Are you reaching out for contact?

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Kraftwerck / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

New Year Milky Way

I was lucky. The Friday night before Christmas, I saw the Milky Way.

Photographer friends of mine would say I did not really SEE it because of light pollution However, from my son-in-law’s windswept driveway, I was able to see enough of our covering blanket of stars to know it is still twinkling above us.

Two thirds of the population of the western world have never seen the Milky Way. Light pollution is so rampant over the Earth, creeping into the night like a brilliant rash, covering the East and West Coast of America, Europe and parts of South America, that I feel privileged to catch a glimpse of our stars.

From Rick’s desolate yard in rural Colorado, I looked to the northwestern sky, let my eyes adjust (in the dark your pupils open like giant telescopes), and I watched as as a veil of stars rose overhead and twisted down to the southeast horizon. Layers of light pulsed toward me, from the palest  background of the farthest star fields to a lace net of sharp pinpoints of night shine. The beauty is so profound, so unchanging, standing under its arch is a connection with creation. Although the Milky Way’s light was generated billions of years ago and is just now reaching us, it looked the same to primitive man as it does to us now.

The stars steady me.  They appear in their season New Year after New Year. Long after I’m gone some yet-to-be-born woman will stand here, and she’ll be comforted by the stars. She’ll wonder how long the stars have been here and how long they will shine. And, if I could, I’d l tell her.

Forever.