Photo by J. Harrington
- GMT was formerly used as the international civil time standard, now superseded in that function by Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
- Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers show that the marking strip for the prime meridian at Greenwich is not exactly at zero degrees, zero minutes, and zero seconds but at approximately 5.3 seconds of arc to the west of the meridian (meaning that the meridian appears to be 102 metres east of this line).
- The actual reason for the discrepancy is that the marking strip is indeed at astronomical longitude zero degrees, zero minutes, and zero seconds[note 2]—but GPS receivers show geodetic longitude (specifically ITRF/WGS 84).
- The Summer Solstice is tomorrow, 6/21, in London, England!
The preceding, plus more I won't bother you with, came about as I asked myself "When is the first day of astronomical Summer this year?" With the Solstice at 11:24 pm locally, I'm not ceding 36 minutes of today as "Summer's" first day, in part because it doesn't occur during the daytime... Tomorrow is obviously Summer's first full day. Today's share is only 2.5% of a single day (36 of 1440 minutes) and 0.028% of an entire Summer season of 90 days. Clearly, the meteorologists have a neater, e.g., more orderly, arrangement with their seasonal breaks starting Summer at June 1, but the astronomical approach is more organic. 'Twas ever thus?
|Sunrise River at Sunrise City park|
Photo by J. Harrington
All that I've described here today reinforces, at least for me, the value of (re)reading, knowing, and following the guidance Dana Meadows shared with us in Dancing with Systems. I notice I've been remiss in looking carefully at, and remembering, points number 12, 13 and 14. I promise to reread the whole thing and try harder to follow a holistic perspective.
As I refreshed my memory about "Dancing", another link caught my eye. I further suggest, in celebration of Summer's forthcoming real and political thunderstorms and downpours, you also read Taking on the Erosive Cycle of Money and Political Power. I found the analogy of erosion, and how to stop it, very, very helpful as I start what I plan to be my Summer of Water, because, as we all know, Water Is Life -- Mni Wiconi. May yours be full of quenched thirst rather than clenched fists.
By Jim Harrison
1The Saturday morning meadowlarkcame in from high upwith her song gliding into tall grassstill singing. How I'd liketo glide around singing in the summerthen to go south to where I already wasand find fields full of meadowlarksin winter. But when walking my dogI want four legs to keep up with heras she thunders down the hill at top speedthen belly flops into the deep pond.Lark or dog I crave the impossible.I'm just human. All too human.2I was nineteen and mentallyinfirm when I saw the prophet Isaiah.The hem of his robe was as wideas the horizon and his trunk and facewere thousands of feet up in the air.Maybe he appeared because I had read himso much and opened too many ancient doors.I was cooking my life in a cracked claypot that was leaking. I had foundsecrets I didn't deserve to know.When the battle for the mind is finallyover it's late June, green and raining.3A violent windstorm the night beforethe solstice. The house creaked and yawned.I thought the morning might bring a bald earth,bald as a man's bald head but not shiny.But dawn was fine with a few downed trees,the yellow rosebush splendidly intact.The grass was all there dotted with BlackAngus cattle. The grass is indestructibleexcept to fire but now it's too green to burn.What did the cattle do in this storm?They stood with their butts toward the wind,erect Buddhists waiting for nothing in particular.I was in bed cringing at gusts,imagining the contents of earth all blowingnorth and piled up where the wind stopped,the pile sky-high. No one can climb it.A gopher comes out of a hole as if nothing happened.4The sun should be a couple of million milescloser today. It wouldn't hurt anythingand anyway this cold rainy June is hardon me and the nesting birds. My own nestis stupidly uncomfortable, the chairof many years. The old windows don't keepthe weather out, the wet wind whippingmy hair. A very old robin drops deadon the lawn, a first for me. Millionsof birds die but we never see it—they likeprivacy in this holy, fatal moment or soI think. We can't tell each other when we die.Others must carry the message to and fro."He's gone," they'll say. While writing an average poemdestined to disappear among the millions of poemswritten now by mortally average poets.5Solstice at the cabin deep in the forest.The full moon shines in the river, there are palegreen northern lights. A huge thunderstormcomes slowly from the west. Lightning strikesa nearby tamarack bursting into flame.I go into the cabin feeling unworthy.At dawn the tree is still smolderingin this place the gods touched earth.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.