Monday, January 10, 2011
Feeling the Earth move
Living moderately high up and towards the middle of a peninsular, as I have been for the past thirteen years, I am able to watch and feel the earth turning on its axis. On clear mornings, the majority of mornings here are clear, looking east from the house I can see the ridge of the Taygetos Mountains moving down against the ‘rising’ sun. Witnessing this daily miracle I experience a similar sensation to that of being in a stationary train when a train on an adjacent track begins to move. So attached have I become to watching each day’s sunrise that should cloud or late waking cause me me to miss the event I feel rather cheated. In the evening I do not have far to walk to watch the sea beyond Methoni moving upwards to swallow the ‘setting’ sun. The movement of the earth in relation to the cosmos, so obvious to me since being here, was something of which I was previously quite unaware. Of course I had enjoyed seeing many beautiful sunrises and sunsets but had never experienced any feeling of actual movement. The awareness of cosmic motion does not end at sunset. There is practically no light pollution here, the night sky, especially on moonless nights, is inky black; movement, of constellations against it as the months pass, so obvious.
The annual migration of the sun from south to north and back is another timeless cosmic movement of which I became aware only when, for the first time in my life, I could witness from my home both the change of position of sunrise and the movement of shadows and images cast within the house. At the winter solstice the sun rises over the most southerly tip of the Mani that is visible from here. At the summer solstice it rises but a little south of Kalamata; a distance on the ground of about a hundred kilometres. Within the house, from December to June the changing position of images of windows through which stream the sun’s first rays of the morning move, in the opposite direction of the movement of the sun's rising, around three of the room’s four walls.