A Perfectly Imperfect Equinox

dsc_6714Oh, well. That’s close enough. My house has a Stonehenge moment every equinox, almost. On the equinox, the sun hits the horizon due west, putting it over a point of land across Cultus Bay called Scatchet Head. As it sets south of west for the next six months, I’ll get to see it set behind the Olympic Mountains. That’s true, but not exactly. A string of caveats describes the imperfections in my celebration; but that’s okay. That’s normal. Perfection isn’t. Accepting the difference is almost invaluable.

I can’t say the difference is invaluable because someone can figure out a way to value it. I’ll let them. I want to spend my time getting some other things done.

The Sun doesn’t set behind the Olympics. The Sun is traveling through space, but it is Earth’s rotation that rolls the Olympics up and into my view of our local natural thermonuclear reaction.

The photo is of sunset (an imprecise word, as I’ve just demonstrated) on September 21, 2016. That isn’t the equinox. The autumnal equinox will occur at 7:21AM PDT on September 22, 2016. So, the photo is about twelve hours too early; but sunrise (an equally imprecise word) happens on the other side of a ridge behind my house. The photo wouldn’t be the same.

I should get six months of sunsets, but I won’t. I live by the Salish Sea on the eastern shore of the Pacific Ocean. It rains here, in case you haven’t heard. It actually doesn’t rain much compared to many places, only about 36 inches per year. That’s imprecise, too; because within a short drive the weather goes from desert (less than 10 inches per year) to rainforest (over 120 inches per year.) I think my neighborhood gets about 50 inches per year, but that’s an imprecise measurement based on a memory of what a local weather fan reported. The biggest barrier to watching sunsets is the series of clouds that will sweep across the area during the autumn and winter. Potentially, I get about 182 days of sunsets. Realistically, there are far fewer. There are no exact measurements of the exact number of sunsets from my house because I’m the only one who can measure that and I haven’t done so.

I’m pondering (im)perfection because the topic has come up in several conversations. There is an infinity of room on a scale of totally perfect to totally imperfect. Totally perfect doesn’t exist, unless you accept something as it is, like accepting your or anyone’s imperfections as perfect representations of themselves. Totally imperfect doesn’t exist, either. Absolutes don’t exist. Even perfect vacuums have been found to contain random particles on a quantum scale. The great infinity between the extremes is where debates, decisions, choices, and progress live.

One thing I enjoy about consulting is helping people make those choices. Where are we relative to good enough? Is it time to make the commitment? Should a few more uncertainties be resolved first? The answer is rarely the same.

Within my life, I’ve had to exercise balancing imperfections much more in the last few years. The fewer the funds, the greater the need to deal with what’s available. With more funds it is easier to test ideas, experiment, and search for more options. My book, Walking, Thinking, Drinking Across ScotlandWalking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland was published early because I had an immediate need for money. Polishing the manuscript was a luxury I couldn’t afford because I had to afford food and shelter. It is an imperfect book; but then, they all are – even the prize winners and best sellers.

This week some imperfections appeared in a storm window I made. I have only one window facing south. Our strongest storms come up the Sound from the south. They build strength over the water and blast the southern tip of the island. My poor window was battered. I couldn’t and can’t afford to replace it; so, for years I’ve taken a hint from the previous owners. They replaced the screen window with a sheet of heavy plastic wrap. Between being beaten by the wind and rain, and getting irradiated by the Sun’s UV rays, the plastic only lasts about nine months. It was a solution, but an imperfect one.

Summer is over, or will be within twelve hours of the publication of this post. Within the last week the plastic developed rips on rips. Tape on tape wasn’t enough. Another layer of plastic might work through the winter, but the frame had been stapled so many times that the wood was splintering. After months of considering this inevitable event, I decided to try for another solution.

  • Solution 1) Repair the window and frame. = Too expensive.
  • Solution 2) Replace the plastic that came off a roll with a rigid sheet of plastic. = Expensive enough that the helper at the hardware store laughed before he told me the price. (It’s a big window.)
  • Solution 3) Celebrate a bit of good luck. A neighbor gave me his house’s old windows. = Great! But none of them fit. Cutting them to fit should work, but all I proved was that I can turn one piece of glass into two or more, but the breaks are curves, not lines.
  • Solution 4) Buy old but clean glass and get a professional to cut it. = Back to expensive, again. Not as expensive; but bad enough.
  • Solution 5) Buy the most economical sheets of acrylic I can find. Get a professional to cut them. Create a jigsaw puzzle of pieces that fits the frame. = My solution.

Finally, a semi-permanent solution just in time for the next set of storms; and hopefully, until my finances improve enough to rebuild rather than repair in patches.

Without much thought I can think of six projects that involve me that are in the decision making stage. Each is approaching the process differently. None can know if they’re making the right decisions. That’s what the future is for. The only way to find out is to try, as long as you can try again.

dsc_5027-copy

Autumnal Equinox 2014

That photo of the sunset at the top of the post isn’t perfect, either. A Facebook friend reposted my photo from a previous autumnal equinox. That was much better, I think. And yet, all I had to do to get a better photo for tonight was to ignore the sunset on the horizon and see the effects of the sunset on the sky.

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Autumnal Equinox 2016

As for the storm window, it is holding; though, we haven’t had a storm in the hours since I installed it. It will be interesting seeing how well it will work. For the first time in years that room is bright in daylight. Acrylic is clearer than plastic sheeting. I’m a bit worried because of my technique. I glued the acrylic to the wood storm window frame using the adhesive suggested. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize acrylic sheets have protection plastic on both sides. I took off the protection on one side – and unknowingly left it on on the side that was glued. I didn’t glue the acrylic to the wood. I glued wood to the protective coating that hopefully will remain stuck to the acrylic. It is an imperfection; but if it succeeds, it will be perfect enough. And if not, I’ll try again.

About Tom Trimbath

consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: https://trimbathcreative.wordpress.com/about/ and at my amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0035XVXAA
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