Worlds Spinning

moonCresent240-1Two quick links today, then back to work.

First, grab a cup of coffee, click here at the NASA site, and see the year’s moon cycles spin before you, month by month. Well, not exactly. The sun that illuminates the moon does not spin. The Earth spins every 24 hours. The moon, not so much.

So the dark side of the moon is always the dark side of the moon. But if you watch the position of the moon in the lower left of the video, you’ll see that it seems to tip left to right and back on an axis through its belly button over the course of full moon to new moon. I don’t think I realized that before. Old dog, new moons.

Secondly, a reluctant statesman and armchair philosopher set the world spinning back towards a saner, healthier and more sustainable orbit in 1978 with his book, the Unsettling of America.

We were in the audience in about 1985 when Wendell Berry spoke at Emory and Henry College down the road from Wytheville.

And apparently I’m not the only one who has paid close attention to what he’s had to say since. An upcoming symposium in KY will focus on Berry’s message from that early book, and how those principles and values can translate into localized food systems in today’s world–a movement well underway, and perhaps first and most eloquently articulated and hoped for by this gentle and genuine farmer from Kentucky.

Bill McKibben will be among the speakers.

NOTE: Here’s an easy way I learned long ago to tell if the moon’s lit surface is coming (waxing) or going (waning.). C-is-for-COY, the crescent light is fading. D-is-for-DARING, the crescent light is growing bolder. So the moon pictured here is…?

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. That is a waxing crescent, I think. I don’t get the “D” idea you gave us in this post. Please explain again!