Monday, February 25, 2008

sidereal time

This morning I climbed the stairs to the writing garret, plugged in my laptop, and began to review the research notes and plot notes I've been making on the second novel revision. I quickly found myself reading about sidereal time, in which the day is marked using the hour angle of the vernal equinox rather than the sun. Star time, it's called, and the very idea sent my mind spinning in all sorts of mystical directions. The idea that a sidereal day is four minutes and some odd seconds shorter than a solar day has me wondering, in my non-mathematical way, what happens to those four minutes. Somehow, star time must make up for those lost minutes in magic or mystery or simply radiance of the moment.

With all this in mind, I went downstairs to get ready to feed horses and donkey. I'd just read Victoria's Teachings of the Horse post about her zen horse Silk, and had commented that my two older horses, Keil Bay and Salina, sometimes meditate in the sun as well, noting that they do it in the morning after feed/hay, and often again in the afternoon, at two different spots in the field.

As I walked into the bedroom, I was stunned to see through the open mini-blinds, Keil Bay, Salina, and Cody lined up three abreast, gazing over the house into the morning sunlight, totally still, entranced. Rafer was lying flat out asleep beside Salina, and Apache Moon was standing similarly entranced in the copse of trees behind the horses.

I've never seen such a thing, their lining up like that, much like Muslims praying to Mecca, but praising instead the morning sun after a chilly night. I stopped and stood in the bedroom, trying to figure out how to get my camera without disrupting the scene. In the next second I knew this was one of those scenes that would never make it to a photograph. It lives only in the moment.

I stood and breathed. And then without even thinking what I was doing, whispered "Keil Bay."

He came out of the trance, shook his head, pricked his ears toward the window (there is no way he could have seen me) and then did his Yoga Bay deep bow in my direction.

This little scene lasted just about four minutes. We're following star time on November Hill today.

12 comments:

Matthew said...

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story and depicting that amazing scene with words. . .

billie said...

It was an amazing way to begin this week!

The Zoo Keeper said...

I know about star time. :-) I have a 'thing' with time! I really enjoyed this post, Billie, and I love reading about your animals. What an amazing event. I'm not sure why, but this post made me think of a photo of Keil Bay that you once posted here. He looked like he was peering in a window, perhaps searching for you. Out of all the ones you've posted here, I think I might love that one best. As a matter of fact, I believe it may have been the thing that first prompted me to comment here.

billie said...

Oh, I hope you'll write some about time on your blog - I would love to learn more about sidereal time and also just get your perspective on time in all its essences. :)

Thank you for the kind words... I remember that photo and the post. I was reading A Thousand Splendid Suns and crying at the end, and Keil Bay came right up to the deck in our back yard and looked in at me.

He is a real sweetheart - so attuned. An old soul.

The Zoo Keeper said...

Keil Bay felt something and he was checking on you! That is one of the sweetest things I've heard. And some people don't think animals have real feelings like people. They just don't understand, do they?

I posted a 'time piece'. It's a picture poem. I took all the photos myself. I like to arrange them until I feel like they tell me a special kind of story. A mixed media sort of thing. :-)
I started with the photos when I was pretty solidly locked out of my writing. I didn't always have words to go with them. Now I do. I think that's a good sign for the new story. But I'm glad it's not a time travel story. Very glad. I already know something like that will try to creep in, but this time I know it is a 'place' thing, not a time thing. In a Bedknobs and Broomsticks sort of way.

billie said...

I'll go check out your post - re: horses and feelings: this is one of the reasons I use them for therapy and workshops. They are incredibly attuned to our energy, our emotion, and they respond not to what we 'show' but what we truly 'feel' inside.

Excruciatingly honest and accurate, they're biofeedback machines!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Even though it was only four minutes or so, it was an amazing occurrence to have witnessed. Sometimes you don't need the camera, it is nice just to remember it in your mind.It certainly sounds like everyone started their day peacefully and with a moment or two of reflection.

billie said...

Yes! Four minutes of star time expands into something nearly indescribable in words. At least that is how it felt to me, a very sacred few minutes of my day that rippled forth beyond actual time as we measure it.

I'm deep into research reading this morning, and also out of time, in a way, esp. after viewing zookeeper's photo poem - go check it out for an elaboration on this theme!

Victoria Cummings said...

Do you think that there could be horse to horse communication, like human animal communicators talk to horses? If so, maybe we can get Silk and Keil Bay talking - they sound like kindred spirits too. How beautiful to have them all lined up, sending you the same message. They are attuned to a higher vibration, that's for sure!

billie said...

Victoria, I'm sure they could communicate on some level. I've heard so many anecdotes over the years about horses who were close and then separated.

Sometimes when Keil Bay goes to the very furthest corner of our field and looks toward the setting sun, it does feel like he's communicating with someone away from here. I wonder if he misses his best friend Joker, who, if you drew a line from where Keil Bay gazes off to, would be in that exact direction, about 30 miles away.

Have you read any of Rupert Sheldrake's books? If Matthew reads this, perhaps he will speak to what Rupert has studied and found about animals and their sense of "knowing."

He might also post a link in the comment to his old blog where he interviewed Rupert about psi phenomena.

(this is a hint, Matthew)

Matthew said...

Rupert writes quite interesting books and research papers about dogs who know when their owners are coming home, and animals who seem to know in advance about earthquakes and tsunamis.

Here is the interview I conducted with Sheldrake.

billie said...

Thanks, Matthew - that was QUICK.