Winter Solstice – 2023 Countdown

Yesterday marked the day when ever-longer nights reversed course and became ever-longer days. I celebrated. And, I will continue to celebrate for one hour at sunset every evening until the eve of January 1st when the star of Sirius appears above the horizon in the center of the sky marking the beginning of the solar New Year. There are about sixty minutes between civil sunset when the color of the evening sky turns to darkness and the astro sunset when only the direct light of the stars and the indirect light of the moon and planets fill the night with light. This year the moon will be full on December 26th, the day after Christmas.

Unlike the lunar New Years of the Chinese and Islamic traditions that begin at different times of the year and appear arbitrary beyond the separate historical traditions that define them, the solar New Year is the same for everyone, for it is determined by the position of a star very distant from our own solar system. Although the solar New Year also has a historical tradition, in the physical scheme of our galaxy it is anything, but arbitrary.

If there is a moral to these remarks, then it must be that there are certain truths to our existence that go beyond our separate cultures and unique, but different views of the world. That each preserve the truth of his own culture and person, and that no person or group of persons dictate to all of humanity what only Nature or Nature’s God is worthy.

Be healthy, be safe, and above all, be free. It takes courage, wisdom, and perseverence.

I wish everyone a thoughtful Countdown.

Seattle, 22 December 2023
Roddy A. Stegemann

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Life is full of surprises. Still, you can quit at anytime, if you have grown weary of their outcome. For, after all, survival is but a first step; it is a primitive instinct that does not distinguish us, humans, from other animals. Accordingly, if it is all that you can achieve in life, do not be surprised that others treat you like an ordinary animal. Alas, if it is all there is left, and you have grown weary, it is good justification to depart. Before you go, however, look deep inside and determine if you are not the cause of your own demise. For, in the end, society owes you nothing, and even your parents are likely to forsake you, if you have not been grateful. Have you said thanks for all that you have received, and have you given in return for all that you have taken? John F. Kennedy once stated "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country". Obviously, he was not thinking of taxes, but the help that he would require to become an effective president. Little that is great can be achieved alone. Then too, it takes great leaders to motivate society and move it forward in a manner that will pave the way to a better tomorrow. The world is in need of good leaders. Maybe you are one of them in disguise. Indeed, no one owes you a living, but if people see you struggling they are apt to lend a hand. Just do not be afraid to reach out. And, do not quit, if nothing is given in return. For, many people simply do not care, and you must not let them get you down. You have a right to your own life and the pursuit of your own happiness, so do not be afraid to claim what is yours. Just do not take what belongs to others, if it not without their permission or obtained in fair competition. And, cry out when you have been cheated, but only if there is something to be gained from your cries, for few people like a cry-baby. Be judicious, strategic, and select your battles wisely. Do not waste your time with trivial injustices, for we all make errors, and we are all, therefore, subject to the injustice of others. It is the very thought of exercising my freedom of last resort that keeps me alive, for it is the comfort that I can put an end to my suffering at any time that allows me to endure enormous pain. It is what gives me the courage to fight for what is right without fear of losing. It is a powerful freedom that you should never surrender! Just do not make pain your goal, or you will surely finish a loser. Then too, never place pleasure over goodness and know to distinguish between the two. In liberty, Roddy

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