Being raised in the Catholic Church, I know what it is to have ritual as part of my religious experience, but I cannot recall any ritual associated with the changing of seasons. If one studies the history of the rituals, there is for sure a link but in the practicing the thread is lost. I wish it had been otherwise. Every time there is a change of season, I think, “I wish I were more plugged into this important event.” I don’t belong to a community that celebrates the change of seasons. I think the pagans do something and I happen to know a pagan but I don’t think she belongs to a celebrating community…I could be wrong.
I suppose I could do some celebrating of my own. I happen to know that the shift from spring to summer happens at an exact moment in time. I looked it up…at 11:25 this evening, about two hours after I usually hit the sack. I will need a good nap if I am to stay up. But if I do, what can I expect to happen? We have already been living in the hot days of summer.
I think my problem is that I am not subtle enough. I am so numb-headed that changes have to blast their horn at me for me to notice. Let me think about this. I have been following the pattern of sunrises and sunsets for several years now, ever since I decided it was a good practice to greet the sun in the morning. I have noticed a strange phenomenon. The time of the rising and setting changes each day by about two minutes…one in the rising time and another in the setting time. So from the winter solstice, the daylight extends approximately two minutes. Summer solstice marks a reversal. Each day from now on will get shorter until winter solstice. Halfway between these events are the fall and spring equinoxes…when day light and night are about equal.
Here is the phenomenon. The time of sunrise (5:27 am) remains the same for 5 days over the time of the solstice. The time of sunset (9:11 pm) stays a whopping 14 days! It feels like time is standing still – or that some really big object is trying to make a sharp turn. Thinking about it makes me want to hold my breath, like I am going over the first hill of a roller coaster.
God is awesome, as in awe-inspiring. What in the heck are we doing worrying about these grains of sand on the earth and the scuttling around of little mites? I wish I had a community to celebrate this thing with me. Meanwhile, I think I may stay up tonight and stand in the moment of the change.