February 29th, is one of those breakouts – a rogue day in the standard calendar. The year (as we measure it) has been around, more or less, since Ancient Rome. A far older calendar common to most Indigenous cultures is one based on the cycles of the moon. Every four years, February adds one day, to reconcile the standard calendar with the pages of the nighttime sky.
The other night, on a walk in squishy February snow at dusk, I caught a glimpse of the new moon, cradled in the arms of the old moon. The planet Venus shone her light above. I stopped for a moment, to contemplate how the 2020 vision of this year can shape our own planetary leap forward. We are entering a new-old world, one where the moon really matters.
As we leap to the future, we are at the same time attempting to slow down the pace of carbon emission, to reverse a cycle that has caused great harm. Reclaiming timeless rhythms may help ground our swirling minds and the rapid technology we have created.
We sure can get ahead of ourselves. Case in point was my own experience that night of recording the new moon. Somehow, as I operated my iphone’s camera, I inadvertently changed the settings. I managed to transform the moon and Venus into comets.
Will we be comets or moons in this evolving world? Can we turn our culture’s blazing trajectory into a more agreeable and sustaining curve?