I Am The Handmaiden of Entropy

Kage Baker never understood, or approved of, why the various Solstices and Equinoxes changed their actual dates year by year. In her nonstandard mind, those pivot points of the calendrical year fell on the 21st of their respective months – March, June, September, December – and that was that. She allowed the traditional holiday of December 25th houseroom in her horological universe, but she did not allow it to assume the Winter Solstice – which she honoured on December 21st, with an entirely different feast.

I’m less punctilious in my awareness of the Quarter Days; I know they’re coming, I give each of them a nod and a courtesy as we pass. I make a point of looking up when the Solstice or Equinox occurs, so I can extend appropriate greetings to my kith and kin, and observe the more obvious symptoms of the change along the line of the sun.

The Equinoxes are my favourites. At those times, day and night are nearly equal in length, and the world spins like a ballerina en pointe. I imagine the skirts of the Earth’s magnetic fields flaring out faster and wider as the spin intensifies; then, the dancer tilts a little to one side or the other, and the days begin to grow longer or shorter. You can see it happening every sunset, when you find yourself watching the light fade at 9 o’clock at night, or the darkness catches you when it’s barely 5 o’clock in what is technically still the afternoon.

Tomorrow is the Spring Equinox. It’s the 20th instead of the 21st, and I can deal with that just fine. Part of the blame for the shifting dates goes to the Gregorian Calendar; which, although better than the Julian Calendar it replaced, is still wrong. But that was an infamous mess when the change was made (we lost 12 days!) and even now is not properly synced to the actual orbital period of the Earth. That is 365.24 days and the Gregorian Calendar comes limping after the Earth in its orbit in a mere 365 days. It tries to take care of the problem by adding time to Leap Years, which is just a coarse approximation of a cure. This is as silly as those Midwestern states that occasionally try to declare the value of pi to be an even 3.14 days, and has just about as much effect on the laws of the universe: i.e., none.

The Babylonians seemed to make it work as a flat 3 – by tripling the square of the radius of a circle – but even they eventually decided it was closer to 3.125, And they’re extinct, anyway. Do not hire a High Priest or a Pope for charting your horological needs is the moral here …

Now, Dear Readers – those of you who are still watching for my missives in the ether – you are probably wondering what the heck all these maunderings on the calendar are about. Well, they are about Time. A lot of time has passed since I last posted, all glowing with good intentions to remain findable on the electromagnetic stage. I failed at that.

I am now trying to recoup the time I have lost in the wilderness of doing and being NOTHING. NOTHING has been the sum of my existence for the last several months; behold, I am become the handmaiden of Entropy, before whom all worlds … dissolve.

It appears my recovery from the Year of Being Terminally Ill peaked some few months ago, and I didn’t notice. I have since been crumpled up like a piece of newspaper, into the origami shape of a Crone. I forget things – I have weeping fits and tantrums – it has been suggested I have PTSD from my hellish confinement in the nursing home. My muscles have dissolved to the quivering weakness of overcooked spaghetti, and I can barely walk. My chest congests without warning and subjects me to insane coughing fits. My voice – an instrument I have worked on for over 50 years – has lost any tone of couth or gentility, and achieved the conversational timbre of a crow.

I am a mess, Dear Readers. However, Kimberly has never stopped urging me to write ( I sit all day; what else is there for me to do?) and I have finally admitted she is right. So I am writing. I don’t know where any of this will lead, or even if anyone is still listening. But if you are, I thank you most fulsomely. You will bear the dubious honour of my attempts to return to the service of Life.

It’s just the day for it.

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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12 Responses to I Am The Handmaiden of Entropy

  1. Mike Bennett says:

    Since I am bingeing on Frasier, “I’m listening”. Peace be with you and yours


  2. johnbrownson says:

    Is anyone still listening? Of course we are, and we rejoice to hear your voice, however creaky from misuse.
    I am going to presume to remind you of something you already know, but may need to hear: As long as we live, there is no point at which the body will no longer respond to strengthening activities. At any age or stage of decrepitude, our wonderful bodies will always come back, if we ask nicely and don’t demand too much, too quickly. That is all. ‘Nuff said.
    Oh, and, like Kage, I am rigid about the Solstices and Equinoxii: they come on the 21st, and that’s all there is to it. That’s day after tomorrow, and I’ll be thinking of you then, as always, with affection.
    Keep on truckin’! -Buff


  3. Tom Barclay says:

    I hope your health truly is improving. Things have been a bit rough here, but nothing like what you’ve endured.
    Can I simply tell you how much I look forward to your writing, be it blog, fiction or Other?
    BTW, the Romany are back in St. Louis. Can Spring be far behind?


  4. Sue K. says:

    Still listening here, and glad to hear your voice echoing from the ether. Welcome back. Looking forward to reading whatever you are writing.


  5. debraji says:

    We are listening, Dear Writer. I hope the return of spring brings you improved health and joy.


  6. Gen says:

    I always look forward to your posts!


  7. Luisa Puig Duchaineau says:

    I hear you, Kate,
    And extend an empathetic hand
    To take yours and hold it gently.

    In the other hand, a Goblet
    Filled with the Exlir of Memory.

    Poof! You now hold the Goblet’s Twin.

    Let’s together in this haze of Full Timelessness,
    Smile and click our Goblets together.

    Aaaah. Fleeting Sweetness, together.


  8. Lynn Downward says:

    I have spent the empty months since we last heard you listening for you. Now we can listen to you again. Welcome back. I hoped this Solstice would bring you out into the sunshine and it has. And listen to John; he’s right!


  9. Brad Campbell says:

    I was worried. At our age, we worry. Glad you’re back. I got tired of trying to write interesting, quirky, pithy, descriptive missives to myself…They were never anywhere near as fun as the ones you write.
    I suppose I should apologize in advance for this, but when I read your self-description, I KEPT hearing Gilda Radner’s voice saying, “You sound like a REAL attractive guy, Mister Feder. You BELONG in New Jersey.”
    Nah…you belong here in California, where Kage left you.
    Welcome back.


  10. Beth says:

    Hooray, hooray, you are back and we are all here listening. Thank you for taking the time to write to us!


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