From the Winter Solstice through April, I track the returning progress of the sun with bricks lined up along the south side of the telephone pole out front, the north edge of the bricks’ shadow razored up close to the south side of the pole’s shadow.
By mid-May, the sun’s shadow’s crept onto my neighbor’s lawn and has shrunk to a smudge at the pole’s base. The sun’s light, though flashing light years along its daily course, must travel 27 feet across my property to deliver mid-May’s light.
In the ensuing months’ hot weather, I seek not only the privacy but also the cool shade around my sacred, ceremonial fire ring tucked back in among fir trees and giant ferns. Here, I’m able to gage the sun’s progress, not by the sharp-edged, black-and-white certitude of February, but by the softer, less exacting edge of the firs’ shadow that drifts away from me a bit north of east these days.
After the Summer Solstice, waiting for us just around the next bend in time’s progress, it will begin its drift back toward me, slowly demonstrating the diminishing light and the shortening days.
In a few weeks, the shadows out front, lengthening anew, will find me placing my bricks along the well-defined edge-to-shadowy-edge, counting down the inches and feet —maybe 27 of them if I’m accurate and attentive — till the Winter Solstice and the rebirth of the light.