Summer Solstice in Our New Neighborhood
To begin a new day at sunset today would require a symbolic somersault since we symbolize light with goodness and life…and darkness with evil and death. Yet to begin a new day at sunset as night’s darkness quickly engulfs earth could be beneficial: It could be daily reminder of your death. The fading of the sun could inspire you to live fully each gifted moment before you are truly embraced by death’s ebony darkness. And while sunrises are full of possibilities (including procrastination) sunsets signal an urgency to settle one’s affairs (including being reconciled), for your day is almost over.
Sunrise also reveals the expanse of your “neighborhood.” The paradox of sunset is that instead of shrinking where you live, as twilight lowers its star spangled black curtain speckled with a few sun-stars, it is vastly expanded. Then with telescopic vision we are able to see our astonishing real neighborhood—the Milky Way galaxy with its 200 to 400 billion sun-stars. If our solar system—the sun and eight planets—could fit into a coffee cup, our galaxy would be the size of North America!
But we’ve only come to the edge of our home turf, for beyond our galaxy it’s estimated there are 100 billion other galaxies with their immense uncountable number of star-suns. Thirty years ago a team of astronomers proposed that the universe is but only one of possibly billions of universes in our cosmos. If that’s true, then our giant universe has shrunk to truly a neighborhood size!
Some 2,200 years ago, a Greek astronomer, Aristarchus of Samos, argued that earth was but one of the planets orbiting around the sun. After all this time, isn’t it curious that we continue to use such flat-earth terms as sunrise and sunset? So have a “Happy Solstice” in hallowed communion with the hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of solstices in the Cosmos.