we are really closer to the sun
this solstice and we are moving faster.
Not much, but at noon I’m feeling
dizzy, gravity-heavy and dreading the new year
when we will be closer, even faster.
A 19th-Century Pocket Sundial
Today being the solstice, we are having longer days than back in June at the earlier solstice. Earth’s perihelion – closest point to the sun – always comes in early January. That means that the Northern Hemisphere winter (Southern Hemisphere summer) is the shortest of the four seasons, even though it is also the longest days for the entire globe.
The Earth spins more than a thousand m.p.h.
and I feel that dizzying speed today,
though I fix my gaze upon trees
deeply rooted, the clouds are moving fast.
I clutch the railing, but I’m rising.
Midnight puddles are filled with moving moons.
Clouds pass like fog on the water.
My foot breaks one moon, but only
for a moment, then peace returns again.
Children of the Moon visiting our planet.
Not yet geometer moth, a larvae looping.
Geometridae, geo “the earth” and metron “measure.”
Inchworm measuring the shadow of my leg,
growing longer as the afternoon light shortens.
Caterpillar measuring Earth before measuring the sky.
Perhaps our planet, this beautiful pale blue dot,
is part of a distant civilization’s constellation.
I’m comforted thinking that a child there
points at us in awe and thinks
there is a heaven, a better place.
“Pale Blue Dot” is the name given to a photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) from Earth, as it was leaving the Solar System. Carl Sagan asked NASA to turn its camera around to take one last photograph of our planet.
Sagan’s 1994 book was titled, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.
read an excerpt of what he said about it