Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hail the Solstice

Alas, with everything else going on, we managed to allow the Winter Solstice to slip past unmentioned and uncelebrated. It was Sunday, December 21, of course, two days ago. Now northern hemisphere days begin getting longer, the nights shorter.

I enjoy commemorating the turn of the seasons because they demonstrate to me, as does nothing else, the essential irrelevancy of most human activity in the longterm scheme of things. As Omar Khayyam wrote, in the Edward Fitzgerald translation:
'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.
We play our tiny games, like a colony of self absorbed microbes on the back of an elephant. All the while Gaia serenely ignores our best efforts, never missing a step in the billion year galactic cotillion.