Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winter Solstice Plus Seventeen Days

Are you all bored of 2015 yet? Have you broken your New Year's resolutions? If I had bothered to make one, I would have. Yesterday, it seemed as though I was doing great, ...

... but only if my resolutions were to show up five minutes later than usual, to get distracted, to cook more junk food for my family, and to stay up too late watching TV. Yup. I am a champion of resolutions.

Here's something for you northern hemisphere folks - each day is getting three minutes longer than the last. That means that today will be about fifty-one minutes longer than winter solstice. Can you even tell the difference yet? I can't.

I have just created a mystery for myself. Without nuclear time or even pocket watches to tell them how much time had elapsed, how did people of old, you know, the men who built the neolithic tombs, even know when the solstice was? How did they know the longest or shortest day so that they could place their stones properly? How could they tell the difference between December 21st, the shortest day on the north side of the Earth, and today?

You know, the depictions of men back in the days before lights, pocket watches, highways, cell phones, and books are that they were stupid, but if you ask me, it takes a lot more smarts to be able to figure out when winter solstice is without a calendar and nuclear time than it does to check your phone. Someone actually had to figure it out without any help. Think about it. Could you do that?

Maybe you could. Sorry. I didn't mean to imply that you were as ignorant as I am. I'm sure there is someone out there still managing time without checking their smartphone every five minutes, but I'm not one of those people. I would probably have been relegated to grinding corn or washing the buffalo robes in the creek. Still, someone has to double-check that nuclear clock though. What a job, huh? Can you imagine the morning when it hiccups and his alarm didn't go off at the right time. The whole world would be an hour late for work. Would anyone notice?

"Yeah, uh, I'm in charge of winding the nuclear clock," said the guy at the dinner party when you asked him. That would be a conversation killer.

And for that matter, how did anyone know how to use the stars to navigate to that pilgrimage site? How did people even meet up at the mall before they had cellphones? I have lived though times such as those at the mall and I can't even remember.

Right. I do remember a night when the guys went on into the movie theater with our tub of popcorn while I popped into the bathroom and I ended up wandering though the theater whispering their names to no avail. Eventually, I sat down and watched the movie. It was sad and lonely, sitting there by myself with no one to whisper to at the good parts and no popcorn. What I hadn't realized was that Mike and his best friend Harry, along with the tub of popcorn, were in a different theater at an oh so slightly later showing of the movie I was seeing.Even after the movie, I stood around like an idiot for twenty minutes, leaning on Harry's car, before the two of them arrived and asked where I had been all night. The conversation just went downhill from there, if you can imagine.

So, I've got to give credit to those people who wandered away from their tribes to find one of those Neolithic tombs in time for the winter solstice. If it had been me, I would have gotten lost and ended up at the wrong tomb or worse, showed up on January sixth, no today is the seventh, isn't it?

See what I mean?

Thank you for listening, jb

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