In the midway of the wonderful San Diego Zoo Safari Park in California, you’ll find a colorful attraction called the “Conservation Carousel”. Unlike traditional carousels teaming with horses, the Safari Park merry-go-round boasts giraffes, rhinos, zebras, cheetahs, and other “rare and endangered creatures”, just waiting to be taken for a spin. It’s a full-on circle of animals. It’s like riding a zodiac.
Speaking of the zodiac, what’s your sign? I’m an Aquarius (born in late January), which makes me water-bearer to the gods. As much as I don’t subscribe to horoscopic astrology – a visual representation of the heavens to interpret the inherent meaning of life – I can’t deny water’s played a significant role in my world. I spent childhood summers in the Pacific Ocean and the backyard pool. I lazed away hours in Northern California’s Lake Tahoe, swimming and water-skiing. I enjoy a lively display of water, whether Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls or the fountains of Vegas’s Bellagio Hotel. A gentle rain is nature’s therapy.
But then there’s the hell-or-high-water side of things. Literally since our wedding night (when my bride and I awoke to dripping from the bed-and-breakfast room above us), the two of us have endured all manner of water problems. A fully flooded basement. A backed-up septic system. Drinking water with a PH so out-of-whack we had to install a conditioner and a neutralizer. Our well water quit pumping one time – for days – when a squirrel chewed through the electrical connection. It’s like those gods have nothing better to do up there than play games with their little water-bearer down here on Earth. If it were up to me I’d spin the zodiac wheel and land on another space instead.
Turns out my wish may have already been granted. According to the Wall Street Journal, the earth maintains a wobble in its orbit around the sun, caused by gravitational pull on its not-so-perfectly-round midsection. That wobble (called “precession”) – projected over the last several thousand years – shifted the alignment of the Earth with the zodiac constellations as the Sun passes through them. Long story short, everything astrological advances one month on the calendar. In other words, you rams out there (Aries) are actually fishes (Pisces). You maidens (Virgo) are now lions (Leo). And us water-bearers (Aquarius) – mercifully – are now mountain goats (Capricorn).
With more passing of time, the earth’s Weeble-wobble will redefine basic astronomy as we know it today. Take Polaris, the “North Star” at the end of the Little Dipper, and the starting point to locate the more distant constellations. A few thousand years from now, Polaris will give up its position to Vega, another bright star. All because our planet is a little fat in the middle.
With talk of a “changed world” after a curbed pandemic, I think it’s high time for me and you to adopt our newfound zodiac signs. Goodbye Aquarius. Hello Capricorn. To preview my new persona, I looked at today’s horoscope in the local paper: A conversation with a female acquaintance will be important to you today. This is a good time to share your hopes and dreams for the future with someone to get his or her feedback. Bless my lucky stars – I’m to check with my wife before moving one position on the astrological merry-go-round. Seriously? What does she know, holding court from under the sign of Cancer? Whoops – make that under the sign of Gemini instead. Either way, she can finally refer to me as, “you old goat, you”.