A lovely little ritual

Several years ago I downloaded an app called Sundial onto my iPhone, and it has created a lovely little ritual for me.

What does Sundial do? It tells you everything you’ve ever needed to know about the movements of the sun and the moon: rise, set, peak, phases, length of day/night, solstices/equinoxes — you name it, Sundial’s got it.

I downloaded it so that I could find out when the times for the 3 Old Men labyrinth ritual at burns should be: solar noon, sunset, and an hour past. (You can set the date for which you need info, so it’s like time travel.)

There’s more: behind the front screen, you can set alarms/alerts for different events. I set an alarm for sunset, choosing a little owl hoot as the sound, so that now, every day, if I haven’t silenced my phone, there will come a soft, sweet double hoot, reminding me and anyone in hearing range that the sun has gone.

It’s a quiet reminder that this huge planet that I live on continues its revolutions and its orbit whether or not I’m paying attention — and it helps me pay attention. The days get shorter; the sun pauses for a few days, and then the days get longer, until the sun pauses again and we repeat the cycle.

Throughout the year, I am usually either cooking supper or having a cocktail or both when the sun sets, and in my circle we’ve started raising a glass when the owl hoots. Acknowledge the passing of time…

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