DCC News

 

Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church

 

February 22, 2008

                                                           

                                      

Racing with the Moon

I notice these things.

I notice that now when I drive to work, I am sometimes in daylight. I notice that the sun comes over the horizon when I am on the road. I notice that it stays light later in the day and I am well aware that in a couple weeks we will reach Daylight Saving Time once again.

And because of that, I will be plunged into darkness for the entire commute in the morning and have the wonder of light much longer in the evening.

For me, one of the best moments of the year is on the first day of Winter. It means that the days start to reverse themselves and daylight gets longer. Maybe just by a minute here and a minute there. But, by the end of one week, there is more daylight in my life. That is good. I suppose just the opposite could be said for the first day of summer. I note that the days start to get shorter, but I console myself with the thought that even though the daylight is fading, it is still warm. Besides if I go to Michigan on the western side, I am also on the western edge of the Eastern Time Zone…thus, more daylight at night.

A number of years ago I was in New York City on the Summer Solstice. The very first day of Summer. While I had always noted the arrival of summer, I had never attended anything that formally acknowledged the solstice. I did on that day. What amazed me is that thousands of others did the same as me; they headed for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine where the summer Solstice was to be observed. And they headed there early in the morning.

I was staying in a hostile about 6 blocks south and walked at 4:30 in the morning to the cathedral, but lots of folks took a cab. You’d have thought there was a grand celebration or the opening of a chic restaurant, but actually it was just the observance of the summer solstice.  A musical group, the Paul Winter Consort was there to offer appropriate new-age type music and thousands of us went into the St. Johns and sat in the near-darkness of this Gothic cathedral.

It remained dark. The music began slowly and there we sat and I was never quite sure what we were waiting on or expecting to see and hear. But, I think for many New Yorkers this Summer Solstice was their only way to connect with the seasons. Unlike the farmer in a plowed field or the worker in an apple orchard who has a connection to the soil and the whims of the seasons upon that soil; these New Yorkers found their seasonal connection via the rotation of the earth. They were cut-off from the soil but not the rhythms of the earth. So, they took a cab, got out and went into this massive cathedral and acknowledged that the seasons were changing and they would observe that surrounded by the presence of stained glass, stonewalls, and marble floors.

I notice these things.

 

We are in the midst of the season of Lent. It’s a religious time and yet a harbinger of Spring. We have a regular Wednesday night study group. When we began the sessions in January, it was dark when we sat down to supper; now there is still a bit of light as we dig into our soup and conversation early in the evening. Soon Daylight Saving Time will come around and give us light well into the meal and our discussions. I  notice these things.

We talked in Confirmation about when Easter would be this year, and last year and next year. It moves. It moves as the full moon appears. Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon in Spring (in the Northern Hemisphere). This year Spring arrives on March 20 and the first full moon in spring is March 21 and the first Sunday in Spring is March 23 and that means Easter. It is very early in Spring.

I notice these things. There is a certain rhythm to all of this and even though I grew up a city boy and am still rather city/freeway-bound I set my clock by the seasons.

On my first night in Zambia to teach at the boarding school many years ago, I was met by Dave Grogan at the airport in Lusaka. He picked us up and drove us to the school and that evening we had a simple dinner with Dave and another teacher, Glenn.  It had been a long day of flight and I was hungry. The meal was simple with vegetables, rice and fruit. I sat with my back to the window, which looked out on the school grounds. I remember sitting down to eat as the sun was going down and in a very short time I turned around and realized that there was no lingering sunset. We were living somewhat close to the equator and there was no twilight. Boom. The sun was down. It was dark.

I watched the full moon as I drove home the other night as it was eclipsed by the shadow of the earth. It was right in front of me as I drove east across the roads just south of 270. The next morning the full moon was still in the sky but now in the west…and it was right there in front of me as I drove west across that same country road. That full moon was always in my line of sight.

I find it interesting that the sun and the moon affect me in such ways. I suppose it is something primal within every human. The light and the dark touch me in ways that are hard to explain. But, at least I wonder about it. And I wonder about the light and the dark because I notice these things.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing