Sunday, January 10, 2021

Time Flies By

 The Earth Orientation Centre has announced there will be no leap second added at the end of June 2021. Leap seconds have been added roughly every year and a half to adjust for the difference between atomic clocks and the time it takes for the earth to complete one revolution around its axis. Now, we have too many. Seconds, that is.

Despite how it seemed to drag on, and the Leap Year, 2020 was unusually fast.

The 28 fastest days on record (since 1960) all occurred in 2020, with Earth completing its revolutions around its axis milliseconds quicker than average. | Earth is whipping around quicker than it has in a half-century

 This raises the question of whether a negative leap second will be introduced. Should that happens, the last second of the year will disappear. Ryan Seacrest will count down, "... five, four, three two." That's it. Anyone who was born in the last second of any year, will be skipped over for birthday presents. Celebratory kisses will occur one second earlier. Whatever 2021 brings, good or bad, will be over.

 The night will be that much shorter. Coffee will reach my lips that much sooner. And we will all be older, regardless of how you measure it.

Friday, January 1, 2021

A perfect end to an imperfect year.

We had no plans to celebrate the end of the year. There wasn't much to celebrate other than it was finally over! For dinner, we made a steak in our cast iron skillet and served it with sides of mashed sweet potato and peas. And just because it was still 2020, and because the question of what else could go wrong left open the possibility that something would go wrong, the cast iron skillet exploded on our induction burner resulting in a crack halfway across the pan.

The steak, thankfully, was still fine and dinner was delicious. The pan, like 2020, is ruined.

Also on the last day of the year, I received a phone call from Eisenhower Health. Apparently, while I was at the hospital for a high fever earlier in the month, I may have been exposed to the coronavirus. They were required by the county to inform me of this and to find out if I had any symptoms. Luckily, I never developed any other than the fever and I had self-quarantined for ten days. Nevertheless, the irony was not lost on me: Best not to go to the hospital if you can help it. This was true, more than ever, in 2020.

When I think back to all the events of 2020, both personal and global, I liken the past year to living on a deserted island. Thrust into a situation of no one's choosing, we were isolated, lacked toilet paper, suffered mental challenges, found new ways to toil but found money useless: We could not travel off the island and there were no restaurants. We went gray and or grew beards. Personal grooming became meaningless.

There were other events that were exactly the opposite of a deserted island - or maybe a divided one, much like my cast iron skillet. Riots raised our awareness while the election made us want to cringe from awareness. 

I haven't even touched on the wildfires or murder hornets. There was a pandemic, for crying out loud - the storm that landed us on our islands.

There were births. There were marriages. Love was transmitted through the ether to family and friends who were on their own deserted islands. We made an effort to connect however we could. There were bright moments. 

The pan cracked but it didn't break apart.