Steve Hansen: Full moon is shining on summer’s first day

hansen mug

By Steve Hansen

Former QCS Managing Editor

Monday marked the summer solstice, the day of the year when the sun stays up the longest.

We are supposed to be cheering because it was the first time in 70 years there was a full moon on the summer solstice.

To me this sounds a little like a typical baseball record — for example, the most hits given up by a left-handed pitcher in a regulation game before the All-Star break.

I’ve never known why baseball wonks keep up with stuff like that. I can call them wonks because I can get pretty wonky myself with some pride.

I can appreciate a convergence, like when you see Mars, Jupiter and Venus gathered around the moon as if it were a poker table. I can even appreciate the transit of Venus, watching the planet traverse the lower fifth of the sun. That’s rare and visible.

The “blood moon” eclipse a couple of years ago was eerie and spectacular — worth spending a few hours outside with a telephoto lens.

There isn’t anything unusually visible about having a full moon on the summer solstice, though. It just means the sun will be out for a longer time and we’ll have a full moon, but for a shorter time, since it’s also the shortest night of the year.

I’m supposed to notice the shortness of the shadows at 1 p.m., and the increased length of the shadows at night.

I doubt that I will, though.

At 1 p.m., I’m likely to be hiding out from the heat over lunch, and I usually shade my east-facing windows to avoid evening glare.

The Druids and ancient Egyptians held very solemn rituals and maybe an orgy or two to mark such phenomena.  Stonehenge, the pyramids and the Sphinx are said to line up with solar and lunar events.

I know a few of my friends are attuned to such coincidences as full moons and solstices. I celebrate their ability to notice the subtleties, but I don’t share it as well as possibly I should.

In the meantime, I hope everybody’s Father’s Day was as pleasant as mine.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:

stevenmhansen@plateautel.net

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