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.
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.
I just found out about this — today starting at noon central time, there’s $10,000 in matching donations for the Hill Country Ride for AIDS! If it is at all possible, please donate on my Hill Country Ride page. Anything. Any amount — even $5, because donations are doubled until the $10K is given out.
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.
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*)
I had intended to continue exploring unholy alliances, but a bout with flu-like symptoms for the past 48 hours has stripped me of the concentration needed. If headache, fever, and upset stomach are going to render me even more scattered than usual, I decided to leverage that into a positive. It may be a slightly scary look into the way my brain works (hint: don’t expect a linear progression), but I hope I’ve managed to impose enough discipline to keep to political and historical themes.
A Spring Day, 1873. It’s not spring yet, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that it’s coming.
My planned post for today went by the wayside; it’s hard to write anything remotely coherent when you’re obsessively checking hashtags on Twitter to see if your church has imploded yet. But the thought of a Tuesday without some history was unbearable [to me] too, so here’s a taste of what’s happened on this day.
A frosty Morn on the Nooksack, just how the salmon like it.
In parts 1 and 2, of this series I described the Nooksack River and how it’s three forks joined from the glaciers and water sheds surrounding the Mount Baker National Forest and wilderness area. The river that used to be prime spawning waters teemed with salmon that fed the local Indians for thousands of years. About 150 years ago, these waters were dramatically changed with the arrival of settlers from the east who logged the hillsides and plowed the prairie lands. These typical settler activities deprived the waters of the cooling effects of the shoreline trees and degraded the water quality with flooding silt. The natural processes that sustained the waters historically became seriously disturbed. The waters and the fish suffered as a result in proportion to their proximity to the settlements. The upper reaches are less polluted that those closer to the farming and populations centers.
At the beginning of February, when the earth appears frozen and lifeless, there are stirrings below the surface and above us in the sky. The light is returning; today there is nearly an hour more daylight than there was on the Winter Solstice.
Mid-January through mid-February is when the Great Horned Owls begin breeding and nesting. While the rest of us look out at the wintry landscape here in North Central Blogistan – and wait for spring – the owls are already beginning their nesting year.