Gettin’ Syzygy with It.


It’s not every day that I hear or read a word I’ve never heard or read before. On the way to grab some pizza for dinner last night, my 5th grader asked me if i knew what “syzygy” meant.  I assumed he was kidding, what a ridiculous word that must be fake. Then I tried to pretend that of course I know what that word (and ALL words) mean, how dare he question my omniscience, etc.  Then I just gave up, clarified the spelling, looked up the definition, and thanked him for the inspiration for my next day’s blog post.  Thanks again, me boy.

Wikipedia says, “[t]he word syzygy is often loosely used to describe interesting configurations of planets.”  After Tuesday, it seems to me, there is definitely an interesting configuration going on.  Not sure where it will end up, but this is most assuredly a time of syzygy.  And it’s a lot to digest, right?  Certainly hard to take in all at once from close range, soaking in it.

So on the heels of yesterday’s blog post, and given my 5th grader’s day off from school today, I pulled the eject lever on the nonstop CNN coverage droning in the background at our house for the last 48 hours. As eager as I am to learn the ins and outs of Tuesday’s seismic election, I think sometimes you just need to get away from that shit. Especially in a time of syzygy.  

So today — at least this morning — I got away from that shit.

My 10 year-old and I drove over the Golden Gate bridge with his dog-sister, and hit the Old Railroad Grade.  This last sentence might give the mistaken impression that Everett and I were totally aligned on this extra-television jaunt.  Actually, he only agreed to go after I made several threats of taking this away or that away.  I may have undercut my credibility here by threatening to take away things that he has already had taken away.  But I was desperate; pleading with him about how “Daddy is SO tired, please cut me some slack and do this with me.” Ultimately promising him a trip to the neighborhood novelty shop for Magic Cards later. I have learned that bribery can be a powerful motivator.

So I packed my pack and we went.  And it was fantastic.  For nearly two solid hours, I barely thought of the election, the uncomfortable sitdown at the White House between Obama and Trump presumably transpiring as my son and dog and I huffed and puffed on the trail.  And for the most part, I was able to refrain from searching my memory banks as to what, exactly, a president can do unilaterally.  On this last point, I clearly need to bone up.  But not during the hike this morning.

It’s not a new observation by any means, but I was reminded again of the value of the outdoors.  It gives perspective.  It makes the heart pump.  It is something over which parents and kids and dogs can bond. I hope the next administration doesn’t do anything to set back the ongoing progress of, among other things, creating more National Parks, inspiring more people to go to those National Parks, and preserving the Parks we already have.

On the trail with my youngest son and only black lab, I felt lucky to be alive.  Lucky to be outdoors.  Lucky to breath fresh air.  Lucky to have food and water in my backpack for the three of us.  Lucky not to step in a dozen piles of horse or coyote or dog poop.  The day was so great, actually, I’d be fine with some shit on my sneakers.  

I guess my point is this:  Everybody get outside, if you can.  Take a walk around the block for just five minutes, if that’s all you have.  Look up.  The sky is still there.  Look down.  The earth is still beneath our feet.  We have a ton of work to do in this country over the coming days and weeks and months and years.  Many things will change, and we’ll all feel the shifts as we navigate this time of syzygy.  We all need a place to come back to as source of perspective, positive energy, and just feeling damned lucky to be alive and to be taking at least one more breath.  So take comfort, good people, in the sky above us, the earth beneath us.  Take comfort in the simple things.

Thanks for reading.  


  1. A couplet of brilliant articles (yesterday and today). I hope your countryfolk heed these sentiments and don’t sacrifice their brilliance for the sake of a bit of Syzygy!

  2. Getting outside is always a remedy for me, no matter what. Just to go out, and as you said, look at the sky or look at a tree and take a big swig of air is a game changer.

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