Taking a measure of time and progress ...
marking moments in time here in the Waterside

Tempus fugit! For time immemorial humankind has attempted to measure time. Derived from the Latin tempus, the very word temporal ~ meaning related to time ~ has a secondary definition associated with the earthly, secular world, as opposed to that Eternal or sacred. (This distinction has never precluded The First Estate from leveraging its power and prowess to bring "order" to the universal standard of timekeeping, however.)

At the present time, it is estimated that there are about forty calendars in use worldwide ~ with many societies and organizations using multiple calendars as social, civic and and fiscal timetables.1 For over a quarter of a millennium, Western civilization has standardized a grand measure of time using the "new style" Gregorian calendar (which keeps pace with the heavens by leap years)2 ~ and since the mid-20th century, the world's timekeepers precisely adjust the seconds of a contemporary atomic clock to the Earth's rotation.3

Beyond the routine of daily doings ~ to keep pace with the heavens and earth ~ the Waterside movement marks moments in time using time-tested paradigms:

In turn, each timetable is calibrated with the other ~ each wheel and gauge interrelating ~ like some intricate timepiece. Use of the old style Julian calendar brings order to the unpredictable New England seasons and is used to mark the progress of the Waterside Plan in Motion.7 The lunar calendar reflects the cyclic changes in the moon and tides ~ which wane and wax, ebb and flow over (about and upon) the Waterside community and the Merrimack river and Plum Island shores: Time and tide wait for no one!

And so too, generations of the Waterside people come and go ~ leaving our temporal mark on the landscape ~ influencing ventures (past, present and future) in our wake ~ leaving stones, milestones and tombstones ~ and building physical and figurative cairns to signify we have come this far. Within a 30-year generation of the Waterside people, there are six 5-year terms to conduct the civic process and progress of the Waterside Plan in Motion). In a more fluid sense ~ at the Heavens' own pace ~ synchronized with Nature's seasons and the manmade Gregorian calendar ~ Once in a Blue Moon opportunities come to pass with each 5-year term's beginning, middling and ending ...

Coming full circle, yet still making progress. In a Motion of Comity. Here in the Waterside. The place we can see our tomorrows dawn (link within).


1 An excellent source of "certain knowledge" about "Calendars through the Ages" can be found at this link without.

2 The phrase Keep(ing) Pace with the Heavens is inspired by the 1752 edition of Poor Richard's Almanack (link without) ~ in which Benjamin Franklin AKA Richard Saunders explains the conversion from the old style (Julian) calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar in 44-46 BCE) to the new style (Gregorian) calendar ~ which Britain and British colonials were to adopt that September. While most European nations readily accepted the Papal edict for calendar reform made by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 ~ by the time the British Parliament acquiesced (link without) ~ 11 days had to be excised from the British calendar to synchronize with the new style Gregorian. An interesting link without provides further insight about the situation at hand.

3 Citing the link without (on Wikipedia.com) ~ it is interesting to note that the atomic clock was unveiled in the mid-20th century ~ two centuries (more or less) after the British Isles and its colonies accepted the conversion from the old style (Julian) to the new style (Gregorian) calendar in 1752. And to take further note that ~ during that span of time ~ the very first atomic clock was built in 1949 and the first accurate model was fabricated in the United Kingdom in 1955, which then led to the internationally agreed definition of the second being the basis of "atomic time."

With this decision came the need for precision and periodical synchronization of the atomic clock has been necessary to adjust for the Earth's slightly slowing rotation
8 ~ noting that the atomic clock was advanced one second with this New Year (2006). But wait just a second! There is some controversy about this practice, as was elucidated in the National Geographic article, dated December 29, 2005 (link without). The article reported that a group of U.S. scientists within the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) had recently submitted a proposal to totally eliminate leap seconds. Indicating that the ITU has final say, the article cited that the group argued that the practice of adding the occasional leap second creates more problems than it corrects, especially for most computerized timing applications.

The ITU scientists' proposal is also being reviewed by another group with some influence in this matter, associated with the International Astronomical Union (IAU). These findings will be reported when the XXVIth General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union meets in Prague, Czechoslavakia from August 14- 25, 2006. However, there are those who consider the debate should be far more inclusive, since these leap effects such a broad spectrum.

[Not certain about the kind reader, but there is something comforting that one scientific group involved in this minutae coming up with decision-making still labels their conferences using Roman Numerals.]

4 In use when the Waterside was settled in 1644 and set off as a separate parish in the 1720s, the old style calendar was in use and the civil/legal year began on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation. Use of this new year began in parts of southern Europe by the 9th Century, speading throughout Europe and in England in the 12th Century. When Britain and its colonies accepted the new style Gregorian calendar in 1752, the modern practice of starting each new year on 1st January was accepted. In actuality, this "modernity" simply reverted to the Roman civil year which was in use until the 7th century. At that time, the Christian Church moved to use December 25th (Christmas Day) to mark the new year ~ which was widely used from the time of Bede (672 or 673 to 735 AD) until the 12th century. Further information about the conversion from the old style "Julian" calendar to the new style "Gregorian" calendar can be found at this link without.

5 The Knowing Ones might well ruminate over the kernels of truth processed by the gritty grindstone of The Fourth Estate. Citing insight Comity had in the Newburyport (then Merrimack River) Current's article "Moon walking" (link within) and the "Afterglow" forwarded in a Motion of Comity (link within) ~ with both seed (and chaff) throroughly ingrained under footnotes and woven into the "Cloths of Heaven" (link within). Plodding through those footnotes, the kind reader will please tread softly ~ because you tread on dreams.

The fabric of this vision ~ the broadcloth ~ is a natural texture, its textile bespoken and tailored to outfit its wearer (and bearer) of any persuasion, for any occasion. A timeless fashion seamlessly stitched. However, take special note of the ninth footnote of the anotated "Moon walking" (link within). It is not made up out of wholecloth, but simply employs a novel framework, using the unseen thread of Lord Timothy Dexter darned with Pickle's Plain Truths in Homespun Dress as a glimmer of "light" that dawns on generations of the Knowing Ones ~ slowly over time or as an epiphany.

6 Noting the link within remarking Generational Milestones, a community in the work (in progress).

7 By turning the year each spring (March 25), this quarter-overlap offers a degree of independence from the biennial local political cycle, with its campaigns and elections on odd-numbered years, inaugurations on even-numbered years.

8 In 1754, Immanuel Kant correctly identified tidal friction as the cause of the lengthening day, and further predicted lunar recession as a consequence. Lunar recession was subsequently confirmed by precision measurement of the Moon's orbit with the Apollo 11, 14, and 15 lunar landing missions in 1969 and 1971. Then in 1973, the Soviet Lunakhod 2 robotic rover placed retro-reflectors at various sites on the Moon which permit Lunar Laser Ranging with a precision of a few centimeters. These reflectors have assessed the present-day lunar recession rate to be measured as 3.82±0.07 centimeters (or 1.5 inches) per year ~ which would translate to 15 inches a decade, 75 inches (or 6.25 feet or 1.9 meters) in fifty years, or 150 inches (12.5 feet or 3.8 meters) in a century (link without).

9 Interestingly, as noted in this NASA report (link without) paleontologists have been able to estimate the length of the day in the distant past by examining the effect of tides on the formation of beds of sandstone. The article indicates that in the Neoproterozoic era (620 million years ago) ~ well before the Cambrian Explosion of metazoan life ~ scientists estimate the Earth's day was only 21.9±0.4 hours long. Over that entire period (from then until the present) the Moon's average rate of recession was 2.17±0.31 cm/year (just under an inch). Scientists explain that the average recession was once slower than today because the present configuration of continents and oceans optimizes tidal friction: With two large pole-to-pole oceans separated by two land masses which themselves span most of the latitude range ~ including the equator where tidal forces are the greatest.

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