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Summer Sunning!

Today marks the Summer Solstice. Astronomically, it looks like this:

The Summer Solstice occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. The seasonal significance of the Summer Solstice is in the reversal of the gradual shortening of nights and lengthening of days. That will occur later today – June 21st at 15:54 UTC (10:54pm Central Daylight Time).

Today the sunrise (where I live) will be 5:18am and sunset will be 8:40pm – 15 hours and 22 minutes of sunlight. On Winter Solstice, six loooong months ago, sunrise was at 7:25am and sunset was at 4:25pm, 9 hours of sunlight. Tomorrow we actually pick up one more minute of sunlight with a sunset of 8:41pm!

On Sunday, though, the sunrise will be one minute later, signalling the waning of the year. But that’s Sunday and today we have 922 minutes of sunlight to enjoy!!

(Don’t forget to hover on the images!*)

Tuesday in Mooseville – Falling Down the Rabbit Hole Again 6/11/19

Michigan state flower.

I spent the weekend in the garden, and the repetitive, simple acts of digging up unwanted re-seeders and spreaders (are they “weeds” if their only crime is being in the wrong place?) leaves one time to think. Did I ponder the meaning of life? Did I discover the cure for the common cold? Did I figure out the key to achieving world peace? Of course not. Instead, I found myself wondering why the Ohio state flower is the carnation, when it is far from a common or native plant grown in Ohio gardens. And then I wondered what the Michigan state flower was. (I grew up in Ohio, so I learned these basics in 8th grade Ohio history. I have far less knowledge of Michigan trivia.) This simple train of thought led to a rabbit hole of discovery which was more interesting than I would have anticipated.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Ode to the Paper Bag and Other Items of a Bygone Era 5/21/19

Grocery bag, book cover, part of herstory, and culture-changer.

Sometimes a peripheral observation in a book sets off a series of musings and memories. The paragraph that started this train of thought:

The development of the first practical mass-produced paper bags was spurred, like so many other things, by the Civil War, as northern mill operators sought a replacement for cotton sacks. In 1870 the mechanical process to stamp out today’s familiar bag was patented, and the relationship between consumers and products began to change forever. Purchasers had been taking their own containers to grocers in in order to carry products home and thus were constrained from buying more of an item then they had planned, on impulse; the arrival of cheap, mass-produced paper bags allowed buyers to carry home as much as they wanted of what they saw in the store. (Manring, M.M., Slave in a Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima, University Press of Virginia, 1998, pp. 62-63)

This post is 50% nostalgia (and perhaps confirmation that I am an Official Old), but the other 50% is presenting the question (with no answers provided), “Would reclaiming some of the past be better for our future?” for your consideration.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Book Break! Bargain Bin Brain Candy 5/7/19

Between work hours that are almost identical to my library’s open hours (making library visits next-to-impossible) and my habit of reading in bed at night (with a dog sleeping against my shoulder, effectively limiting me to one arm/hand), my reading is mostly done on my Nook these days. The only downside to that is that sometimes it’s too easy to buy books, and I end up with more month than budget. This past month I was left with plenty to read, but it was all brain-main-course, when I needed some dessert. It was time to peruse the $2.99 and under offerings, and I lucked out in a big way.

April Showers are Bringing May Flowers!

At Winter Solstice, the light begins to return – gradually, the memory of the long nights fades until the light and dark are equal on Spring Equinox. From that point on,  the light returns more rapidly and on May 1st we arrive at the midpoint between equinox and Summer Solstice.

Today, my sunrise was at 5:52am CDT and my sunset will be at 7:57pm … more than 14 hours of daylight, adding 2 hours since the equinox. By the end of May, we will have added 49 more minutes of daylight!

May your May days be filled with sunlight, flowers … and kissable snouts!

(Place your cursor over the photos to read the hovers!*)

Tuesday in Mooseville – Remembering One Year On (James Cone) 4/23/19

Dr. James Cone at the 174th Convocation of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (9 September 2009)

On April 28, 2018, James Hal Cone, considered a father of black liberation theology, died at the age of 79. I never knew Dr. Cone, but I spent most of my adult years knowing of him. He taught at my college for several years; by the time I started, he had moved on and been at Union Theological Seminary for a number of years as a rising star of black theology. His departure for Union made it possible for my alma mater to hire a new religion professor, a friend of Cone’s, who became my mentor as a pre-seminary student. It was because of this friendship between a white early church theologian and a black liberation theologian that I first learned of and started reading Dr. Cone’s works, and his second book (published in 1970 and revised in 1986), A Black Theology of Liberation is one that I keep close on my headboard bookshelf. But why is Dr. Cone someone to be remembered? These are my reasons.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Finding Hope Again 4/16/19

Great Hall, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress

When AG Barr released his four-page summary of the Mueller report, I slammed head- and heart-first into an emotional brick wall. I’ve been reeling ever since with frequent and massive anxiety attacks and enough acid reflux to keep Tums, Zantac, Nexium, and Mylanta in business for a decade or more. The anger, the disgust, the despair, the hopelessness were enough to turn me away from my usual historical reading and buried instead in cozy mysteries and fluffy fiction. But that’s the path of privilege; the path which isn’t immediately and wholly threatened by the choking weeds of corruption and authoritarianism…and so can be used for escape. While my raging gut may have begged for retreat from the realities of tRumpism, I knew it could only be a temporary reprieve while I looked for ways to regroup. I found a path; a path with the most unexpected starting point: the writings of Gloria Jean Watkins, the American author; professor; feminist; and social activist, better known as bell hooks. This won’t be a comprehensive overview of bell hooks’ writing, but a glimpse of the stepping stones made by her that led me to other stones by writers, thinkers, and activists. Stand with me on each stone and feel the power of hope rediscovered.

Springing into Spring – No Kidding!

Yesterday, March 20th, at 21:58 UTC (4:58pm CDT), the Spring Equinox occurred.

An equinox occurs twice a year (around 20 March and 22 September), when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. The name “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, night and day are about equal length.

The amount of daylight and darkness became equal over the past few days (on March 18, here) and soon daylight will extend ever deeper into the evening and the early morning hours.

Spring is about hope and new beginnings and the sheer joy of being outdoors in the light and the warmth. Here is some (light!) kidding around as we celebrate this year’s Spring Equinox.
(Place your cursor on the photos to read the hovers*)