Sidereal


Hey, I'm picking up a vocabulary lesson here!

Hey, I’m picking up a vocabulary lesson here!

I was finishing up a run and the word “sidereal” popped into my head.

This happens to me every so often: words will pop into my mind apropos nothing as if shaken loose from my train of thought. It’s a little bit like getting a song stuck in your head only less entertaining. Almost invariably it is a word that I can’t remember the definition of. Even though I couldn’t think of a definition “sidereal” seemed like a strange word to be coming to mind at the end of the run. I couldn’t remember where it came from or what it meant; I thought I had probably read it in one of my recent books. At the time I was in the middle of a book about a cathedral town in the middle ages: I thought maybe it was  an architectural term for some kind of stone work.

Sidereal, it turns out, means “of or with respect to the distant stars (i.e. the constellations or fixed stars, not the sun or planets). Upon reading this I knew exactly where I’d seen the word before: in the book “Contact” by Carl Sagan that I read while we were traveling. I still didn’t know why the word popped into my head. What do I know of the distant stars? Was it a message from my subconscious? If so, then what was it trying to tell me?

I didn’t think about it for very long. It was dinner time and I was thinking more with my stomach than with my brain. The sun had gone down and the moon had not yet come up and there were no visible stars, sidereal or otherwise, in the sky for me to contemplate. Perhaps it was a reminder for me to focus on steady, distant goals instead of getting distracted by the ever-changing tasks closer at hand. Perhaps it was just an impromptu vocabulary lesson.

Whatever the meaning (if any) it stuck in mind.

 

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 3, 2015.

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