and an UPDATE on Christmas travels.
We are still in Adelaide. Sadly, we cancelled our booking to fly to Sydney as the situation got more complex. The cluster hot-spot in Sydney’s ‘Northern Beaches’ became more problematic as it was ascertained that infected people had visited locations across Greater Sydney and even the Central Coast. All other Australian states and territories began tightening the rules for arrivals from the hot-spots, Greater Sydney and from NSW. There was a rush of people leaving NSW. Flights full. At the very least, we would have had to quarantine on our return to South Australia. Most likely that quarantine would be allowed to take place in our own home but we might have been sent to a medi-hotel.
As of today, South Australia has not made our border with NSW a ‘hard’ border as other states have done. What we also feared was that the border would be firmly closed and we would be stuck in NSW for an indeterminate period of time. Once the announcment is made, you get very little time to rush home – most often 12 hours.
Our granddaughter was hoping to travel from Canberra (ACT) to NSW to join the family for Christmas, but she is now unable to do so.
The situation is complex and changes every day. It is hard to keep up with the various directions and the language used. ‘High community transition zone’. What does that mean in regard to new rules? Our South Australian state police were confused a day ago: they incorrectly turned back some arrivals from NSW at the road borders and told others they had to go into quarantine – when it was not mandatory until the midnight deadline, six hours later. Compensation is being sought.
Stars and Rainbows.
Last night, we waited for sunset hoping that the horizon-wide clouds would clear. They did! At about 8.15pm (sunset is now 8.29pm as it’s the summer solstice time) we could clearly see the bright star in the south-west. With our binoculars Jupitar and Saturn were distinctive. Jupiter was larger but we could not pick out its moons through our bird-watching binoculars (10×42). Out came our birding spotoscope which has a magnification of 20x and is stabilised on its tripod. Then we could see 3 of the 4 of Jupiter’s bigger moons in a line. One was surprisingly far away from Jupiter – probably the beautiful Ganymede. I read today that Ganymede is the largest but not the brightest and is bigger than Mercury. Jupiter has 79 moons – that have been discovered so far.
Saturn looked squashed and perhaps that was due to its rings.
I remember that the bushmen of southern Africa had such amazing eyesight that they could see Jupiter’s moons without any aid.
After another 20 minutes, as the sky darkened, the stars were even more outstanding. However, my camera could not handle the lack of light and all I got were hazy pinpricks. We shall try again tonight.
Many are excited about this planetary ‘Great Conjunction’– the best night-time conjunction sighting in 800 years. It is astonishing that in the 17C Johannes Kepler calculated how planetary orbits worked and found there was a triple conjunction (including Mars) in 7BCE. Could that have been the star that the wise men followed to Bethlehem? Who knows, but it’s a lovely idea.
This morning, after the overnight rain, and our sighting of the Christmas Star, a double rainbow hung over Adelaide. One rainbow end seemed to position itself at the bottom of our hill. We think a rainbow is a fortuitous sign. Is it a godly promise that he/she will inflict no more total-world natural destruction – by floods or any other way?
However, instead of a world-encompassing deluge or fire, we have a pandemic and there is little sign of it ending.
But these were positive signs in the heavens and morning skies. My husband said he remembered a negro spiritual about the rainbow sign given to Noah. So, we found the song.
God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign sung here by the Carter Family.
(James Baldwin used a line from the lyrics for the title of his 1963 book of essays: The Fire Next Time).
‘God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water, but the fire next time
Hide me over, Rock of Ages, cleft for me.’
Corruption and violence have not gone away. Maybe what we are enduring across the world really is the ‘fire next time’.