What Happened at 9:54 PM on September 22?

[The earth and sun at the equinox. Source: Google search.]

Are you regular? I mean do you feel in balance? Was everything right as it should be on Saturday last, September 22? Many of you, myself included, will say that nothing is in balance these days. Nothing is as it should be. But let’s leave politics aside for a moment to contemplate a wondrous phenomenon of nature. This one occurs twice a year. On or about March 21 and on or about September 21 (this year is was the 22nd, don’t quibble about details).

What on earth am I going on about this time?

Well, it’s the Autumnal Equinox, of course. You won’t find the Druids at Stonehenge on this day (actually, the Druids are always at Stonehenge). They tend to gather at the Summer Solstice, which is on or about June 21. If you are a novice Druid, think again about going to Stonehenge in June. The parking is a bitch.

Briefly, on Saturday last, September 22, the earth was facing the sun and the day should be of equal length. From now on, the days are going to get shorter…until on or about December 21, which is the Winter Solstice. The diagram at the top of this blog may help illustrate the general idea. Are the daylight hours and night-time really equal right now? No, because nothing in nature is quite that simple. There’s a lag time but I’m not going there.

[Balanced egg at the equator on the equinox. Source: GypsyNester.com}

It’s been said that at the moment of the Equinox, one can, if one desires, balance an egg. But this supposedly can only be done at the Equator. As a Science Teacher, I told my Sixth graders about this once in the late 1990’s. I challenged them. Two boys produced a photo (before digital) of a “balanced egg” on a table on the terrace of their York Avenue apartment. I said: “Wow”. They walked away pleased and proud they pulled one-off on the old science guy. But, I think they propped the egg up with some Nutty Putty or Wrigley’s Chewing Gum. You can’t fool me.

[My attempt at balancing an egg failed. But the tomatoes look balanced. Source: my photo]

So, I’ll be back to discuss the Solstice sometime in December. That’s a whole different diagram. A whole different story.

And you can’t do anything with an egg except scramble it (or poach it).

 

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Travels 22: Deep in the Heart of Texas

Anyone can buy a ticket to Greece and view the Parthenon, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful designs made by humans.  But you have to go to Greece.  Or, to look upon the Pyramids, Egypt would be your destination (but who’s going there now with the country in chaos?).  Machu Picchu forces you to trek to Peru where you can see the ruins of the Incan culture that once dominated the Americas.  On your way to your private audience with Francis I, you could pop by and check out the Colosseum.  And, one of my own favorites is found out on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England.  There you could walk among the giant stones of the mystical Stonehenge.  If you’re a crystal-gazing witch type, you’ve probably been there already.

But all these glorious Wonders of the Ancient World require a passport and a small fortune taken from your Roth IRA (or “borrowed from Vince, a guy from Las Vegas).

Sad to say, but for many reasons, beyond the means of most humble people like me.

But all is not lost.  Right here in America is one of the most exquisite treasures of “High Art” found anywhere on earth.  And, you, yes you, can behold this Wonder at little cost, and I’m not talking of the Hooters just outside Tupelo, Mississippi.  No, this is far more sublime (if that’s possible).

Find your Rand McNally 2013 Road Atlas.  Look on page 98.  Look for a little red square the size of a pin-head just west of Amarillo, Texas.  My friends, I bring to your attention Stanley Marsh’s Cadillac Ranch.

But what about those other Wonders?  Well, these so-called “Treasures” mean that you can’t take chunks of the Parthenon home with you.  You can’t chip at Stonehenge with a rock hammer (like a woman tried to do in the late 1970’s).  They will not allow you to scratch graffiti on the walls of Machu Picchu.  How un-American and un-democratic is that?

And that’s the beauty of Cadillac Ranch.  It’s not only free (it’s in a middle of a field of some kind of Texas crop), but you can bring your own spray can and add your own tags to a series of splendid upended Cadillacs that are half buried in the field.

Half buried?  That sounds like Stonehenge.

I wonder if, whoever installed the upended luxury cars, did so to predict the Summer Solstice?

Whatever.  It’s right here in the good old USA.  Our contribution to the Wonders of the World.

See for yourself:

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