The End of the Dark

James Short – Philosophical Transactions 46 (1749–50), 241–246, reproduced in Kragh, H. The Moon that Wasn’t: The Saga of Venus’ Spurious Satellite. Birkhäuser, 2008. 

The summer solstice happened this morning. It’s the official start to the summer and the longest day of the year.  June 21st is the birth date of two astronomical instrument makers, John Dolland and James Short, who were born in 1703 and 1710 respectively.  Designed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr, the Ferris Wheel was introduced at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago on June 21, 1893.

The original Ferris Wheel at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Il.

On June 21, 2006, the two newly discovered moons of Pluto were officially named. One is named for Hydra, the nine-headed lake monster who guarded the entrance to the Underworld. The other is named after the Greek goddess Nyx,  goddess of night.  She was born out of Chaos, and sister to Erebus, god of darkness. With her bother, she gave birth to Hemera, goddess of the day, and Aether, god of light. On her own, Nyx gave birth to many children, including daughters Keres, death spirits; twin boys Thanatos, god of Peaceful Death and  Hypnos, god of sleep.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau  La Nuit (1883)

Reading about Nyx and her brood, and the personification of all of the blackest and most complex problems of being human felt apropos today. It was a rather sad day at my house.  For many months I have been leaving little treats for my girls under the guise that they had special fairies who they grew to love as much as their own family members.  This morning, my tracks weren’t covered as well as they should have been, one question lead to another, and facts unraveled, smothering all of the magic. I think I broke their little hearts.

More than that, I have been realizing the more time I spend online, the more powerless and overwhelmed I feel by all of the evil in the world, but especially in this country right now in the name of, I don’t even know, nationalism? It’s pretty horrifying. And when I get horrified, I shut down. I am trying to fight it.

For tonight, on the longest day of the year, in all of this light and dark, look up?

Night sky map, The Old Farmer’s Almanac


Published by Guinevere Han Derpants

Writer. Not waving but drowning. Don't worry, help is probably on the way.

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