We’ve Been Spinning Since the Solstice

Kage Baker was not one of those people who forgot a holiday as soon as it was over. There’s nothing actually wrong with doing that – one must move on,after all – but she always liked to wring just a little more glitter out of a special day. Kage’s celebrations of birthdays tended to drift along for days – whole weekends were favourite – but by the time we were in our 40’s, my birthday and hers tended to run for a week or two.

She kept Christmas until 12th Night. The quarter days (the solstices and equinoxes) were probably 2-days festivals when Kage’s Celtic ancestors celebrated them; the Celts counted time by nights, so most of their celebrations took in the days on either side of the Big Night. Mayday used to pair with Walpurgisnacht on April 30th; Halloween paired with what is now observed as All Saints Day on November 1st. And in some places, they still do. And our household was definitely one of those places.

Now, obviously, today is not the Winter Solstice anymore. Nor is it yet the Spring Equinox. But Kage always kept the memory of the most recent quarter day in mind, to see if anything appropriately amazing happened between then and the next one. As Sir Terry Pratchett was wont to say, It can all go myffic at any moment. So, what with the unsettled times we’re been having – what with the modern Plague and the modern Caligula shaking things up – I’ve been keeping an eye on this weary world’s spinning progress, to see if miracles of any hue are in the offing.

And, lo! As we have been turning into the light, we have also been turning into the Land of Miracles.

First and foremost, of course: oh, frabjous day! Calloo callay! We are about to get a new President! Despite his considerable, although amazingly stupid, attempts to deny it happened, Trump lost the 2020 election. Joe Biden will be inaugurated as our 46th President and Kamala Harris as his Vice-President. Being as we are on the West Coast, that means champagne for breakfast, as the ceremony will start around 9 AM our time. And the mere fact that it is happening at all is a freaking miracle! Most of the country seems to feel like its luck has changed for the better. Woo-hoo!

Also, I am no longer completely dependent on extra oxygen! Noticing that it was quite wearying to carry the oxygen accumulator with me around the house, and that my breathing was getting much easier, I decided last night to make the journey to the bathroom unencumbered Also, I figured I wouldn’t frighten my family that way. And it worked! No panting, no exhaustion; no aches in my shoulder from hauling around 10 pounds of purring machine, either. Kimberly, with the honed reflexes of a mother, was awake when I came back to the living room – but she was as delighted as I was. While I am not madly more active, I can now perambulate so much more energetically. I am clearly getting better. A small miracle, I will admit, but mine own.

Respiration is great, Dear Readers.

There was also the Great Conjunction earlier this month, when Jupiter and Saturn appeared to be huge and side by side in the evening sky – a sight not seen so clearly in 800 years. I love these once-in-a-fairy-tale-while phenomena, like Haley’s Comet (which I have also seen) and unexpected meteorites, and Century Plants, and fertile mules – which are always female, for some unknown reason …

Not all miracles are necessarily good, of course. We have just concluded a most unseasonable spate of summer-warm weather here in Southern California, and now we are in the grip of monster winds. And rain and snow and fire. In fact, this evening, it’s been snowing in the mountains and raining in the hills: while trees, electrical lines, small zeppelins and squirrels are blowing in the wind and all directions. We are under a winter weather watch, a wind watch, a fire watch, AND a flash flood warning. This is the sort of malign weather magic that Titania is lamenting at the beginning of Act 2 in Midsummer Night’s Dream, when she tosses Oberon out of her dance party.

All of this I take as part of the dizzy earth twirling on her toes. Last year, as corroborative proof (sort of), the planet actually sped up in her rotation, contravening the habits of the past several million years. Scientists are considering subtracting a leap second from the official clock, which is quite a quantum quake.

So, things are strange, Dear Readers. They always are, of course; if you examine the local warp and woof closely enough, it’s clear that the Fates are usually weaving our fortunes while seriously under the influence. It’s just standing out a lot more this year, at least here at the beginning.

Kage would be amused. And unsurprised.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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