Treading lightly the path to enlightenment.

Posts tagged ‘the cosmos’

My Cosmos

The Corner Star

The Corner Star

When I take the time to remember that this is My Cosmos, relief washes over me.

The world of this creature on this green rock is downright bizarre compared to the consistent, predictable, unhurried pace of the universe.

No need to run to the Corner Star before it closes because it burns always, with enough fuel to run four billion more years or so.

By then, it’ll be of no concern to me or my kin.

In spite of the seemingly-fantastic speeds, vast expanses measured, unfathomable numbers expressed using the mechanical and mathematical terms of the species trapped on a single tiny planet, the cosmos will not be rushed.

You and I cannot compel it to finish the Quasar before our vacation. We can’t postpone or reschedule the meteor shower due to cloud cover over North America. We can’t call in and skip the crash of our galaxy into the next as we hurtle through space at six hundred kilometers per second on a collision course.

And so, with relief, I said aloud to the sky, “Well, this is My Cosmos. I’ll do whatever I want with it.” I may seize the day or let it pass. I can fritter away the minuscule ration of hours afforded me. Trapped here inside this mind, on this planet, in this wondrous thing called life and time, complete and total freedom awaits me.

“The world is your exercise book.” roughly paraphrasing Richard Bach in Illusions.

You’re free to write your reps, or write lies, or scribble, or tear out the pages.

Go ahead. It’s Your Cosmos.


Be at peace,



Happy New Year!

Solstice Day

Solstice Day

Contrary to popular belief, today is New Year’s Eve.

“What?” you’re thinking, “has Paz lost it? Is he in another time zone?”

My time zone is the cosmos, and at 6:03 pm on the 21st of December is the winter solstice. Happy New Year!

I live in the world, not in a paper calendar.

I live by sun and moon and stars.

My only clock is the universe, ever-expanding and ancient, yet consistent, predictable and comfortable here on my tiny rock, out here near the edge of an arm of the Milky Way.

Days get shorter from the celebrated Longest Day in June. Thinking of today, the Shortest Day, in early summer, brings perspective to this time thing.

“Here we go.” I’ll say to Chuy, on June the 22nd, “it’s downhill from here.”

Yet it is now, at the winter solstice, that this viewpoint is truly appreciated.

Some may say we’re entering winter.

Some may say we’ll have months of bleak, cold, frozen darkness before our world becomes alive again.

Some mourn the passing of summer and fall.

Snow on Pines

Snow on Pines

Some look to their paper universe for a graphic representation of the remainder of their sentences.

January, February, March and April, the days stacked like snowflakes, snow drifts that must be tunneled through, frozen expanses of ice that must be traversed. Hunkered down, shuttered in, braced for cold, rigged for storms. The now and the next filled with taxing burdens, dangers even.

Here at Holiday House, there is a celebration going on.

Tomorrow our tiny, insignificant rock crosses an imaginary line, riding its little disc in the plane of our solar system.

Today the famous North Pole, still days from the launch of the Big Red Sled, leans away from our little orange star. We spin on our top, to days that are a few, dimly lit hours up there in caribou country, in the land of igloos and polar bears.

Crossing the Equator

Crossing the Equator

Here in the northeast US, sunlight works a day shorter than mine, but that’s about to change!

Happy New Year, as from this day ’til June, each day will be a little brighter. Each day brings us closer to treasures stowed for winter. Leaves and flowers and summer tanagers. Shirtsleeve weather, swimming, wading the pond for bass.

Frankly, the Julian calendar makes no sense to me. In this forced-labeling of order invented by humans, this clock and calendar record-keeping mindset, the ancients even deferred to the cosmos. The 24 hours divided by 6’s. The 28 days of the moon, seven times four, the weeks of a lunar month.

But somewhere, somehow, somebody thought the universe, the great cosmic clocks, could be relegated to paper, bound by calfskin.

Let’s randomly add a few extra days to our lunar months. Let’s add a whole day every four years because the universe will not coöperate, and change to fit our needs. Let’s ignore the giant flaming atomic ball burning a scant 94 million miles away. Let’s ignore the equator and the moon, and we’ll call New Year’s day, oh, I dunno, how does “January First” sound?

Gosh! January First! It sounds so beginning-like! Great name. On which point shall we place it?

Spring Equinox, when the waistband of our world swings past zero and the warmth of the sun climbs the latitudes?

Summer solstice? A New Year’s Day to mark the countdown to this very same point next year, the strawberry moon and the bursting of everything green and growing?

How about the Autumnal Equinox, as our hemisphere takes down all the green decorations, shuts down the machines of growth and expansion, admonishes mammals to “Prepare!”?

It seems Winter Solstice might be the best choice for your holiday. This is truly the day that begins our march into a new year.

From here, each day is longer, we’re making gains. Each day is a looking-forward to good changes. The relief at the end of winter, no matter how much you’ve enjoyed the season. The breaking of spring, turning the soil, planting and growing. Long days of summer, all the outdoors time you could want. The luxuriating under the starfield, lying on the lawn and watching for shooting stars.

Yes. This is without a doubt, the beginning of my New Year.

You may not hear from me tomorrow, as I’ll be celebrating tonight.

And tomorrow, Chuy and I will be out in it with a renewed fervor, calling to the sun, “Come on back!”. We’ll measure that extra moment at sunset.

From this tiny speck on this tiny rock, to anywhere the call can be heard:

Happy New Year!


Be at peace,



Return of the Sun

Sharon Center Sunset

Sharon Center Sunset

Once winter is on a roll, deep into December, turning the corner to the new year, I become accustomed to life in the dark. Leaving for work at 6:30, it’s dark. Arriving home at 6:30, it’s dark.  Sure, there’s sunlight during the workday, but the only time I can see the roof, the lawns, the runways and the barn is on the weekend.

I’m keenly aware in the fall, beginning late in July, really, of the shortening of days. On the walk with Chuy, we can see, viewing from the same point atop Nishan’s Hill, the sun gets a little more ahead of us day by day. I watch intently as the sun sets, trying to squeeze a couple extra views in before the red ball drops below the horizon.

Then—darkness falls. The depth of winter reminds me of the dark, heatless places in our solar system. The dark side of the moon must be just like this. Well below freezing and constantly night. Then again, there’s no wind on the moon, so these icy blasts that shake me like a willow would not exist there. By imagining the cold, dark expanses of the cosmos, I can feel fortunate that we reign over the elements with our modern human conventions. Electric lights, heat, fiberglass insulation, pellet stoves, TV.

One morning, seems like before I know it, there’s this huge nuclear fireball burning, sitting on the horizon as I drive to work. Yesterday that space was filled with snow-beleaguered pines and the morning star. Today, a big orange-red flame blinds me as I navigate the highway. This first turn, the first time I can see the sunrise at that place and time in the morning, is most exciting. Sure, it’s the same as last year, and will be the same as next year and probably roughly the next 4 billion years or so (give or take).

Maybe most folks don’t get as excited about this as I do. For me, it’s like watching the swallows return to Capistrano. Once a year, like your birthday. An event.

Tug Hill Snow Sun

Tug Hill Snow Sun

It’s strange to think that January is Aphelion, the point in the Earth’s orbit when we’re closest to the sun. Perihelion, our farthest distance from the sun in our annual orbit, occurs around the first week of July.  Odd to think we’re now a couple of million miles closer to the sun than we are in the summer!

In these, our bitter days of winter,

As bare trees stand, their feet cold in the snow,

And above our heads icy North winds blow,

And from my eaves hang frozen crystal splinters,


Let us then retire to our rooms,

Where we’ll sip hot tea and clasp our hands,

And know the warmth of love still stands,

As overhead the winter rage looms.


No embers of wood, nor burning coal,

As fire radiates its heat,

Upon our faces, upon our feet,

Can, as the heart, warm the soul.

Depth of Winter

Depth of Winter

There’s something to this cosmos-watching that brings me comfort. Gives me my sense of place in the universe. Truly seeing the universe is not easy.

A starfield on a crystal clear January night.  A moon behind ice-crystal clouds.

Some ice, some dark, some cold, some sun, all help aid the imagination.

Oh yeah, and a ride home in the light.


Be at peace,




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