"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Equinox...the wisdom of seasons and Solomon

Dawn, Fajada Butte, in Chaco Canyon, on spring Equinox
Trying to turn the corner on the way to work this morning, I was blinded by the rising sun, almost directly west and making it hard to see oncoming traffic. For the next few days, the earth will move until the sun rises directly down the center stripe of the road, and day and night will be equal in time.
"Ah," I thought, "Equinox is almost here" -- the passing and coming of mankind's seasons, that we so often forget about in urban life. Equinox always makes me think about Chaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico, where ancient peoples, the Anasazi, erected a stone clock, a "Sun Dagger,"on Fajada Butte to mark the passing seasons, both for religious purposes and for agriculture. I've camped there on equinox, and risen to bitterly cold, clear weather  to watch the sun rise and shadows move through the sun-determined markers in the giant kiva at Casa Rinconada.
"You can literally see time move..."
You can literally see time move with the shadows, marvel at those people's patience and observation and engineering, and at how small we are, in the universe and with the passing of time.
http://www.nps.gov/chcu/index.htm
Other such markers abound on this earth, at Stonehenge in England, at Chichen-Itza in Mexico, elsewhere. And then I thought of a favorite passage in the Hebrew Bible, written perhaps by Solomon. I wonder if he was inspired to write this when he observed an equinox? There is wisdom in watching the seasons slide by.

"There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

       a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot, 
       a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build, 
       a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance, 
       a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
      a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
        a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
       a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

 "What do workers gain from their toil?  I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.  He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live."
--Ecclesiastes, 3:1-13
A portion of Ecclesiastes in Hebrew, written thousands of equinoxes ago
The seasons slide by every day. Sunset in Oklahoma

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