Archive for March 19th, 2020


3.19.20 … Spring has sprung … and a wrinkle in time …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2020 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (23/40), 2020 Lenten Lists,

Avondale Presbyterian Church-Charlotte NC:

I found this quote today and now I can’t find the source. But it is worth sharing:

“If we look at the next few weeks as a labyrinth walk, we may be able to manage it… each week is another turn toward the peaceful center resolution of the challenge, and the walk out will be into a new world of sharing, love and cooperation..”

I considered walking or visiting South Tryon United Methodist Church. They had a labyrinth, and they let it go. But I still like once a year during Lent to go visit, because I consider it still to be sacred space. I’ll go soon.

I also just realized that one of my regular walks during Lent is the labyrinth at Presbyterian Hospital. And because of the pandemic, I will not be allowed to enter during this period. Such a strange thing

Today, March 19, is the first day of spring. It’s an anomaly for it to occur on 3/19. Here’s why:

The short answer is that the time and the date are imperfect human constructs that we use to keep track of our planet’s movements.

The longer answer involves leap years.

“All of this is caused simply by the fact that the spin of the Earth doesn’t divide evenly into one year,” says Michelle Thaller, an astrophysicist turned space communications expert at NASA.

One spin of the Earth around its axis is one day. “The problem is we’re happily spinning on our axis, and the Earth is going around the Sun, but one year — one complete path around the Sun — isn’t an even, exact number of days. In fact, it’s 365.24 [days].”

Most years, we drop that extra 0.24 and pretend that the year is simply 365 days long. But the Earth’s location in its solar orbit doesn’t change just because we rounded, so the time at which we experience the equinox gets about a quarter of a day (or about 6 hours) later each year. For example, the time of the equinox would move from around 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. over the course of three years.

Every fourth year, we add a leap day to the calendar — February 29 — which gets us almost back in sync with the Earth’s orbit. The leap day turns back the clock on the time of the equinox, nearly resetting the approximately 6-hour annual leap forward from the previous three years.

The curse of the remainder

Here’s the wrinkle: the leap day we observe every four years would fix things if the length of a year were exactly 365.25 days. But remember, the actual length is closer to 365.24 days.

So the leap day intended to get us back in sync with the Earth’s solar orbit doesn’t quite do it. And that discrepancy shows up in the time of the equinox, which gets about 45 minutes earlier every leap year.

All those little rounding errors add up over time. If we blithely added a leap day every four years forever, our whole calendar would eventually be totally out of whack with the actual orbit of the Earth.

To make the calendar more accurate, we don’t add a leap day when the year is a multiple of 100 (e.g. 1700, 1800, 1900) unless that year is also a multiple of 400 (e.g. 2000). This was the big innovation of a 16th century astronomer working for Pope Gregory XIII who designed the Gregorian calendar we still use. Withholding some leap days helps keep us in sync.

As a result, there was no leap day in the year 1900, so we didn’t reset the clock at all and the time of the equinox remained later than it would have been. People who lived most of their lives in the 20th century became accustomed to observing the equinox on March 20 or 21.

Source: First Day Of Spring 2020 Comes Early : NPR,

A wrinkle in time in essence … So off to my walk to celebrate Spring!

I heard chimes and children … As I walk up I heard children’s voices in the sacred garden. There was a family having a Chick-fil-A picnic. They wave, but social distance from me.

It was almost 6 PM and when I first started walking. There was still a bit of sun but it was clouding over. The sun created long shadows and a bright green boundaries.

We are in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. I now have a friend who has it and a family member who has self quarantined because he has been exposed. My mother lives in a continuous care facility and it is on lock down. My sister tried to drop off some orchids for her apartment and they would not even let her through the gate to take them to the front desk.

These are really strange times. I think the labyrinth I meets the requirements of social distancing. I am almost always by myself when I walk, as I was today.

The birds were singing at me. And I saw quite a few bees as well… interesting…

I have several friends who are medical doctors or other medical professionals. They have sounded the alarm and raised my awareness. This is serious and until yesterday I did not know of anyone who was had the virus or even had been exposed and now I know both.

The drive from my house in South Park area to Avondale Presbyterian in Dilworth was amazing. I have never seen so many people out walking, whole families with their children, or riding bikes, and in one yard I saw a big set of lawn chairs arranged in the front yard, all quite decidedly apart with the dog in the middle, inviting the neighbors to stop by for a moment. In addition, I saw at least 10 American flags flying. I have not seen so many flags flying other than on the Fourth of July or another federal holiday, since 9/11.

And the azaleas are beginning to pop… Bright pink, pale pink, white, purple.

Spring has sprung … and a wrinkle in time.


2020 Lenten Lists:

Things to do…

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