2012-09-14 – The folks crossing Madison Street this morning in Chicago were squinting when they looked toward the east for cars. With barely a week to go before the fall equinox, the early morning sun is starting to be visible through the man-made canyons of the Loop. Fall and Spring, it’s always the same: an eternal astronomical spectacle.
A modern Stonehenge.
We moderns like to be amazed at the astronomical significance of ancient constructions like Stonehenge, but modern alignments exist, too. The ancients may have been more attuned to their environment. We build alignments but are largely unaware of them.
You may say that the Chicago street grid is simply north-south and east-west. But these directions are defined by the angles of the sun. We’ve made the concept abstract and forgotten the reality that the abstract stands for.
Astronomical phenomena are portrayed in the media as sudden phenomena. But every full moon is preceded and followed by an almost-full moon. The positions of the planets change only slightly from day to day. We have become observers of the spectacular, losing in the process an awareness of the grand movements in the sky.
But they move whether we are aware of them or not.
So, if you live in Chicago, or any other place where east-west is built into your environment, take the coming two weeks and watch how the sun is aligned with these directions at sunrise and sunset.