On Planetary Tilt


By: Matthew Howen

A season is a subdivision of the year, marked by changes in weather, ecology, and hours of daylight. Seasons result from the yearly revolution of the Earth around the Sun and the 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth’s axis relative to the plane of revolution.


When an object is tilted in the light it is instantly changed in appearance, but remains the same object. We’ve always known it was the same object; a hand in the sun is the same hand in the shade.

I’ve known this to be true, but I’ve known this to feel false.

From the last day of summer break to the first day of school, one-half year in the span of one night—winter to summer—I am tilted. A sense of purpose and of piety wash over my surfaces and I am warm and gleaming. Is it all new or was I in an unflattering position before? The tilt may be revealing the dignity of my true luminosity; my shine betters my shade. (Or is it the opposite?) It feels good (regardless).


I live in a sunken and mellifluous fear of a life without a tilt. I can rack my mind over whether or not the seasons are true or false, but that action, the discovery of the gleam, is a visceral comfort. Without it, I am only one thing year round without light or dark, grey. The pleasure is the shift between the two, exploring the shadow and shine of both, never staying in either for too long. The seasons exist and cause us to long for the heat in winter and the rain in summer: the joy of contradicting our old selves with seasonal discontent.

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