Old and New

It’s been exactly one year since I started this online writing endeavor. I have written somewhere north of 300,000 words in over 220 posts. I have hundreds of regular readers between this blog and the several newsletters and aggregators who repost these essays and stories, a fact that just boggles. These are people who are truly interested in what I have to say, many taking the time to write to me to discuss what I’ve thrown up online. I have made good friends all around the world through this blog. It is amazingly gratifying to see all this happen in just… one… year. I wish I would have done this decades ago! Best time to plant a tree and all that… but at least I finally started the conversation.

I didn’t actually intend for this to keep going indefinitely. Initially, I had planned on just covering one year of grounded living, focusing on home and garden and simplified living — with a side helping of story and poetry because that’s what I do. But around March or so, I noticed that it might be necessary to do some explaining of my position on several things. And then that just ballooned after I got settled into my new life and new home. In that transformative experience I found my voice, I suppose.

I also found that folks were interested in that voice. Though I don’t consider myself much of an original thinker — more of a very broad reader and do-er — I don’t see many other people synthesizing all this information the way I do. So maybe I am original in the weaving of ideas. I think that’s the geologist in me. We’re trained to hold huge amounts of often apparently conflicting data in our heads at once and make some sensical narrative out of it all. Makes for a mind that fairly quickly and efficiently cuts through noise to get to the root story. Also makes for a voice that unhesitatingly calls bullshit what it is. (Well, old age does that also…)

So maybe, I thought, I should keep saying what I think and see what others think about that. And here we are. I think I have more to say than one year of posts. In any case, I haven’t even finished with that part. There is so much more to talk about in the garden and the weather and the home and the seasons. I haven’t even built the new chicken run yet. How can I stop writing now!

Plus the wonderful thing about living is that it is not just a circle. It is a spiral… or something even more complex that probably doesn’t fit in three dimensions. There are annual resonances, but nothing is ever the same twice. There’s always something novel to write about — particularly in this time of rapid change, both in my own life and in the world. Human cultures are changing radically (and not all for the worse, doomies notwithstanding), and our planet is changing radically in response to us (this might actually be all for the worse in the short term… but better in Earth time). I can’t not write all this down as it happens and try to make a story out of it that my grandchildren might enjoy.

So further up and further in, folks!

Radiant point for the Quadrantid meteor shower. Illustration from EarthSky.org

Tonight is a resonance that is completely new. New year, new moon, but recurring night sky event from a very old source. Tonight the astonishing Quadrantid meteor shower falls on a night when the Wolf Moon is a brand new crescent that sets just after the sun. This shower has a mysterious parent that may be an asteroid, an old rocky body left over from the formation of the solar system. It may also be a comet, but if so, it’s one that doesn’t come round these parts very often. We haven’t clearly identified it yet anyway.

The Quadrantid shower can produce dozens of falling stars in an hour, including some spectacular fireballs. The downside of this one is that it lasts just a few hours. There may be meteors associated with it from Boxing Day to mid-January, but the rain of light really only happens a couple hours on either side of peak on January 3rd. Normally, this shower peaks in the predawn skies, but this year there are experts saying that we may see peak occur at 8:40UTC, or 3:40 pm EST. The radiant point will not be very high, but that might actually help because it will be opposite the sun.

For those in Europe it ought to be amazing and will require nothing more than cloud-free northern skies — won’t even interfere with sleep! For me, if the prediction holds true (and it may or it may not…), the peak will coincide with sunset. It’s not completely dark, but twilight starts before sunset here and full dark rather crashes down as soon as the sun clears the western horizon (4:20 pm here). Furthermore, this shower radiates from the northeast, between the constellations Boötes and Draco, where it gets darker the soonest. So I may miss the first part of the show, but if the clouds hold off (yeah…) I’ll get to see a night sky ablaze with cosmic dust plowing through our atmosphere.

Now, this isn’t to say that those who live west of here are going to miss out. The peak could happen anywhere from predawn on the 2nd to predawn on the 4th. Go out on the 3rd and look for falling stars. You may just happen onto the shower.

Because that’s how fortune falls.

©Elizabeth Anker 2022