We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Trackless

Lughnasa                                                                    Kate’s Moon

Gosh, the problems of the modern age. My fitness/sleep tracker, a Jawbone UP3, stopped synching. Annoying. When I sent a note to customer support, no response. None. Hmm. So, I clicked news on Jawbone for a google search. Oh. Liquidation, July 2017. Well, that explains it.

Over time I’ve become pleased with being able to track my steps and my sleep, the constant feedback helps me modify my behavior in certain directions like more regular sleep times and more steps during the day. I found this motivating. To suddenly go without it is, well, annoying and frustrating. But, of course, really only means going back to the way things were before. Spent a half hour looking at other options this morning. I really liked that the UP3 allowed me to wear when it I showered and sleep tracking for this insomniac has assisted me a lot. Nokia Steel HR. Not out yet, but this fall. I’ll wait.

 

Hello, darkness

Lughnasa                                                        Kate’s Moon

monolith (1)Dark ecology. I’ll post more about this both here and on AncientrailsGreatwheel.com, but it interests me a lot right now. It’s a contrarian view of the climate crisis, but not in a denier vein. These are folks who accept climate science, but take a pessimists look at the likelihood of change, at least change sufficient to stave off disaster. They don’t see it happening. This could be equated to the final stage of the grief process, acceptance.

monolithI’m not familiar enough now with the movement to comment in depth, but the tone of it strikes a chord in me. Admittedly, it’s a melancholy chord though the more you know about both climate science and the current political will to tackle change, the more that chord may come to dominate the melody of your life. It’s either brave, facing reality in spite of its horror, or defeatist. Maybe it’s both.

Whichever it is, it feels like an important approach to climate change at an emotional level and one I want to better understand. If you want a sense of dark ecology’s direction, take a look at this manifesto on the Dark Mountain website.

Baked In

Lughnasa                                                                      Kate’s Moon

earth first“Earth rapidly is approaching the point where the amount of warming locked in by human pollution exceeds the limits nations set last year at the international climate meeting in Paris, according to government-backed research unveiled Monday.

The planet faces “committed warming” by 2.7 degrees before 2100 if fossil fuels are burned at current rates for another 15 years, the scientists based in Colorado and Germany determined.”   Denver Post 7/31/2017

When I took a serious Climate Change MOOC three years ago, the scientists who taught in the course referred to this committed warming as baked in. It was clear three years ago that the attempt to limit warming to 2 degrees would fail for two reasons. One, that amount is baked in by the amount of CO2 already in the atmosphere. Second, the rate of emissions continues to grow overall, not stabilize or decline.*

dark ecologySo there is not only the Donald to wreak havoc with the future, but the already emitted carbon dioxide and other gases like methane.

Yes, we need to make clear to any who will listen that these are the facts, not the fake news of our current government or self-interested fossil fuel barons. And, yes, we need to work toward as much mitigation of emissions and their effects as we can. But. We also need to face the coming changes as they will be and, even, as they probably will be, worse than we imagine.

This means taking a doubled view into the world with us. The first view sees what we can do now as necessary, as critical, yet realizes the messiness of global politics is not going to push over the line to sensible policy. The second view absorbs the first and sees the future clearly rather than through solar powered/wind energized eyes. It’s going to be bad, probably not too bad for those of us with less than thirty years to go in our remaining lifespan, but for our children and their children? Bad, trending to worse.

beltane2017gorbachevHow can we work now to help them be resilient, proactive in their adaptive strategies? How can we work now to help them develop psychological/spiritual tools for coping with the cultural stresses that are inevitable? We cannot brush away the bad effects by magical thinking. Oh, the world will catch on and act in time. No, it won’t and it hasn’t. We need sober work on how to live with changed weather, increased heat, moving targets for animals and crops in terms of altered seasons, the disruptions of sea level rise, spread of insect borne diseases and the like.

This doubled view, pragmatic when looking at the long run, yet hopeful enough to maintain action in the short term, is critical so that we do what we can now, yet plan realistically for our next generation’s life.

*“The annual growth rate has increased since record keeping began in 1960 from just under 1 ppm in the 1960s to more than 2.4 ppm through the first half of the 2010s. The past two years have set a record for the fastest annual growth rate on record.”  Climate Central.org

Cool air. How to.

Midsommar                                                                        Most Heat Moon

lgWe’re going to need a sign: A Scandinavian and former Minnesotans live here. It will hang below the window air conditioner we purchased yesterday in Evergreen. Nobody has air conditioning up here. At least not visible from the road. We moved here for the cooler average temperatures and Shadow Mountain has obliged, so that’s not surprising. But. In the summer, for a few weeks, it does get hot up here and the house heats up. So does the loft.

Kate and I kept our home in Andover at 63 degrees summer and winter. And were happy about it. The heat makes both of us sluggish, cranky. Beating it back, even for the few weeks when it’s a problem, has become important for us. We purchased one unit, will put it in today (which means Jon will put it in), and see how it works. If it works well, we’ll buy a slightly larger unit, 15,000 BTU’s, for the loft.

airconditionerinstructosWhen we went into Home Depot (our choices for purchasing a unit were two: Walmart or Home Depot. Community busters or a CEO who loves and supports the Donald. Sigh.), I had to go up to Customer Service and say, “I want to buy an air conditioner, but I can’t lift it.” The woman behind the desk said, “All right. Where is it?” Then she came with me. I looked at her. If she can lift the damned thing, I should be able to. But, no. She had a trick. She tilted the box back while I moved the flat-bed cart underneath it, then she worked it onto the low orange bed.

Life is too short. Yes, it is and with both of us in our eighth decades it’s getting even shorter. Too short to spend weeks bothered by heat. Now, who can I get to make that sign?

 

Naturally

Beltane                                                                                          Rushing Waters Moon

Upper Maxwell Falls

Upper Maxwell Falls

I’ve found the Colorado equivalent of Minnesota’s Scientific and Natural Areas (SNA’s). Here they’re called Colorado Designated Natural Areas. “Designated Natural Areas contain a wide representation of Colorado’s ra​re plants and animals, unique plant communities, rich fossil locations, and geological features.” I enjoyed visiting these areas in Minnesota. Sounds like they’re a little more diverse here. Road trip!

Sounds From Silence

Beltane                                                                    Rushing Waters Moon

The sound of radio waves from Cassini as it crosses Saturn’s rings and the gap between them and the planet itself. Dust particle hits make most of the noise in the second clip. I found hearing these sounds an eery, literally other worldly experience. An extension of our human senses is actually out there, between Saturn and its rings. That’s what this sound said to me and said it in a way multiple photographs for some reason cannot.

Blue Whale Eats

Spring                                                              New (Rushing Waters) Moon

A very interesting lesson in the feeding habits of the largest animal on earth.

Remarkable

Spring                                                                               Passover Moon

Synodic-and-Sidereal-3The waning passover moon is behind a faint scrim of clouds giving it a moonlit halo. Each moon cycle repeats the past, yet is unique to itself. The slow orbit (relatively slow) of the moon around the earth produces the same phases each month and in that sense repeats. But the lunar month and the sidereal year do not quite match up*, as all cultures that depend on lunar months for their calendars have long known. Judaism is such a culture.

Each lunar month happens at a slightly different place in earth’s orbit due to this irregularity over the course of sidereal year. In addition, our whole solar system is not static, but moves through the universe at a speed of 12 miles per second toward the constellation Lambda Herculis.** At the same time our solar system is also spinning around the Milky Way and the Milky Way itself is speeding toward a collision with Andromeda Galaxy in 4 billion years.+

sun-movement-milky-way-101222-02When you consider the irregularities in the lunar position occasioned by the sidereal/synodic difference and the speed of our solar system both moving on its own toward Lambda Herculis and around the Milky Way and then throw in the speed of the Milky Way itself, it becomes clear that no one phase of the moon every occurs in even remotely the same location.

Why belabor this? Becauses it underscores the irreproducibility of much seemingly regular phenomena. Now think about the long span of evolution on this moving planet, within this speeding solar system. This means that no animal or plant species has occupied the same cosmic location for even a short span of its existence. So, in this sense alone, each animal or plant species is unique. But, each animal or plant itself is also unique because it comes into existence and dies, having occupied only one small niche in the larger web of life.

Australopithecus afarensis

Australopithecus afarensis

Within this context regard human evolution. Australopithecus, considered the first instance of the Homo genus, has been dated to 2.8 million years ago. Since that time the genus went through many speciations until, about 200,000 years ago, our own species, Homo sapiens, emerges. So, for over 200,000 years individuals of our own specific branch of evolution have been born, lived and died. Each one of them are unique within just our species.

Each of us, then, from the moment of our birth and for the very brief span of our life (in cosmic terms), travels literally millions and millions of miles, speeding around the sun, the Milky Way, toward Lambda Herculis and as part of our galaxies own rush toward Virgo and Libra. In addition each of us represents a specific instance of an evolutionary branch with its own branch on the tree of life, a branch that split off on its own some 2.8 million years ago.

This means we are each unique in many different ways in addition to the obvious ones of parentage, genetics and personal development.

image of godFinally, the point. We are, each of us, unique and precious instances of over 2 billion years of evolution of life on Earth. We represent a moment in time, yet even our moment is not static. It finds us moving incredible distances.

A key insight of both Judaism and Christianity is the notion that we are all made in the image of God. This insight casts a bright light on both each person’s uniqueness while also revealing our oneness. This truth does not change no matter what content you put into the word God.

treeThink about it. Out of all the billions of years since the Big Bang, moving in all the various ways discussed above and at speeds that make Formula One look slothful in the extreme, you and I exist in this special time together. How remarkable! We are in fact made as the conscious image of this whole universe, with all its reckless momentum and we have been given the chance to know each other and through knowing each other to know the universe that gave birth to us.

Camus talked about the river of life that flows toward death, what I have called in recent posts the Gulf of All Souls. He suggested that it was our common responsibility  to make this journey as pleasant and peaceful for each other as possible. As Ram Dass says, we’re all just walking each other home.

 

 

*watch this short movie to understand the difference between the sidereal month, 27.322 days, and the synodic or lunar month of 29.531 days.

**solar system speed and the other measurements that complicate it

+This webpage shows the difficulties in measuring the speed of objects in the universe and gives a speed for the Milky Way as it moves in the universe–an amazing 1.3 million miles per hour!

Yet Did Not Fall

Spring                                                                  Passover Moon

sputnikYesterday when I came out to let Gertie and Rigel out of the garage, around 5 am, I looked up at the stars, as I always do, enjoying the clear skies here. That long evolved predator/prey seeking eye caught, right away, a high object streaking across the sky. Was it a satellite, the space station? I don’t know, but I do know that in my childhood, my own childhood, no person on earth could have gone outside, looked up at the sky and seen such a sight. Until Sputnik the only streaking objects in the sky were meteors and comets. Nothing moved quickly across the darkness, up with the stars, yet did not fall or disappear around the sun.

This morning when I came out, at about the same time, the stars were absent, covered by clouds. Six or seven inches of new, wet snow lay on the deck outside our backdoor and it was snowing hard. Still is. This storm is delivering on its forecasted levels. Yeah! This wet snow clogs up the snow blower so we’re having Ted, the handyman/snowplower guy from Ames, Iowa (just across I-35 from Kate’s hometown of Nevada), take care of our driveway. He came about 20 minutes ago and may be back if it the snow continues until midnight as the winter storm warning suggests.

6:45 am today

6:45 am today

It’s light out now and Black Mountain has once again disappeared from view, covered in clouds and snow. The school bus just went past. Being a school bus driver in the mountains in the winter must be challenging. Along with school bus driver, the other two jobs I would not like to have up here are mail person and garbage truck driver. They all have to navigate the mountain roads rain or shine, sleet or snow. They all have to stop frequently, counting on the skills of others not to kill them while they do their work.

The snow shuts off our solar panels just like night. I bought a snow rake to release the snow on them, but I haven’t used it yet. Maybe today.

Resist DST. Now.

Imbolc                                                                Anniversary Moon

Grandma’s cooking jucy lucy’s using the hamburger press I bought her as her first anniversary present. Can’t wait.

Gabe’s been here since last night; Ruthie spent the night at a “sleepover” which apparently involved no sleep. She’s been asleep since she got here, first in the back of Jon’s car and now in the bed upstairs. I found Gabe playing out in the backyard. I asked him what he was doing and he said, “Playing.” “Playing’s good,” I said. “Playing’s good but being lazy would be better,” he replied.

That old sun, taking longer and longer to get to bed, is just now sinking below Black Mountain. Tomorrow, back on DST, it will sink at the same time, but we’ll pretend, for some reason, that it’s an hour later. No, I won’t go on my usual rant. I’ll just say, Resist daylight saving time. Resist now!

 

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