Blogging in E minor
Usually just a bunch of silly crap.

Belated Perihelion Greetings to You!

Note: Click on the links for maximum enjoyment of this post.

          Did you notice any strange sensations Sunday morning at about 6 am? Did you feel like the world around you was moving any faster? Did you notice wax melting or ice thawing or waves ferociously crashing into the coastal shoreline? Probably not.

          Sunday morning, Jan. 3, Earth was at perihelion, meaning it was at its closest point to the Sun in its year-long circuit around the fiery star. At this time, Earth is also moving at its fastest rate, 30.30 km/sec as opposed to its average rate of 29.78 km/sec. This occurs every year sometime between Jan. 3 and Jan. 6, depending on where we are in the leap year cycle. 

          So no. Like me, you were probably sound asleep and did not experience any violent phenomena whatsoever. And despite our close proximity to the Sun, you may have endured the same frigid weather I did without any chance of an abrupt, albeit welcome, thawing to accompany this near approach.

          As many a frustrated science teacher has oft explained, the seasons are controlled by the angle of the Sun’s rays hitting the Earth as the result of the planet’s slant upon its axis. As it turns out, it happens to be colder in the Northern Hemisphere when Earth is closest to the Sun and warmest when it is the farthest away in July. This is the exact opposite in the Southern Hemisphere. However, to the consternation of many a scientist and educator, people still persist with the notion that winter is cold because we are farther from the Sun.

Pagans at Solstice

The seasons are marked by the solstices and equinoxes, which occur on or about the 21rst of June, September, December and March. Pagans celebrate these days as holidays. However, nobody celebrates Perihelion (or its July counterpart, Aphelion for that matter).

I propose we start.

As I look into the Jan. 3 night sky and see New Year’s blue moon waning, I am reminded of New Years resolutions and all the people who fail to keep them.

          The common resolution to get into shape is a perfect example of this. I’m a gym rat. Come Jan. 2, any gym in the country is probably bursting at the seams with resolute souls resolved to getting into shape. It is difficult to get a productive workout in and nearly impossible to get onto a treadmill before 9 pm.

          By, say, Jan. 21, this crowd has seriously thinned out. And within two more weeks, everything is back to normal, so we gym rats can reclaim our gym and bitch about how rough it was for a while back in January.         

          So I propose this: On Perihelion, let’s recognize humanity’s resistance to change (and that of the world and the universe, for that matter). After all, despite minor variances in speed and distance, the Earth keeps spinning about on the same route year after year after year. And we humans aren’t all that different, along for the ride, in a similarly predictable cycle of birth, reproduction and death. 

          Good People: Let’s make Perihelion and Aphelion the holidays of extremes. Run a marathon! Climb the tallest building and take the stairs! Drive really fast and set a personal land record in commemoration! Of course, this activity should be something outlandish or grandiose.

Gay Pirate Opera

          Perhaps on this day we should celebrate our near approach by doing something completely different, something entirely out of character. If, for example, you would not normally frequent Gay Pirate Opera, Perihelion might be a good time to start. Or maybe go to a Pagan rat-eating festival. Or try playing banjo with a Bluegrass band. You are only limited by your own imagination.

          Humanity, I bestow upon you two new holidays . . . two holidays that have nothing to do with greeting cards or shopping nightmares or paper decorations and lights. I give you Fast Earth Day (Perihelion) and Slow Earth Day (Aphelion), the holidays of extremes.

          Go to extremes, you great men of knowledge!


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