October 13th, 2019

Azimuth

Azimuth

Earlier this week I came across that word somewhere. I can’t remember the context but I didn’t know the word so it caught my attention and I went looking for a definition.

Here are a few I found:

“An angular measurement in a spherical coordinate system. The vector from an observer to a point of interest is projected perpendicularly onto a reference plane; the angle between the projected vector and a reference vector on the reference plane.”

“The direction of a celestial object, measured clockwise, around the observer’s horizon from north."

“An arc of the horizon measured between a fixed point and the vertical circle passing through the center of an object.”

And finally-

“It is the name scientists use for the location of a star or another object in the sky. To find objects using azimuth, you need to first be able to locate true north."

I mean, all of those of course made perfect sense immediately. I just don’t have time to explain it to all of y’all right now, but yeah. I totally get it.

No.
Not really.

That last one was the closest one to making sense to me and I think it came from a website called Azimuth for Dummies or something like that.

I can tell you this- it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. When I saw the word the first time, it looked poetic. It sounded like a beautiful crystal, or a term for over-arching love, something along those lines. You know- less…science-y.

My dad would know all about azimuth. I can’t call him anymore though.

I started to just drop it. I don’t have to know all the words. But I’m not really wired that way. So then I looked one more time and I found this definition:

“Azimuth is a specific type of bearing which measures the direction of an object in relation to true north.”

Oh.

If our true north is where we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to become, then azimuth is the way to get there. It tells us how far and what direction away we are. It tells us how we have to move.

And, it’s useless if we don’t know what our true north is.

In other words, if we aim at nothing, we will surely hit it.

One problem in today’s world, and possibly every other time too, is that it is so easy to lose sight of our true north. There are endless distractions and road blocks.

There are problems and barriers.

There are frustrations and failures.

In fact, while I was writing this very blog you are reading, Z came in to help me, and crawled up on my lap and managed to delete the whole thing I had written so far. Accidentally of course and with no intent to cause me any distress. But it did. I’m not gonna lie. The tears came. I have so little time these days to write or to pursue those things that I think lead to true north, that when I do get a moment and it gets interrupted- well it hurts.

I notice lately that I spend a lot of time thinking about what I will do when I have time to do what I want. And thinking about how much time is going to be left for me to do those things when I am able to. It’s pretty depressing. As a result, I can overreact when I feel ‘my’ time is threatened.

How do we reconcile it when the life we have doesn’t match up to the life we planned?

Don’t misunderstand me. I have a wonderful life, full of beauty and wonder and amazing people. I’m grateful for it. So grateful.

But sometimes I feel a little bit lost.

And I’m thinking it’s because I’m trying to make a way to true north that I THINK will get me there instead of following the bearing that WILL get me there. After all, I am a person who didn’t even know the word azimuth until last week, so obviously I wasn’t taking that into consideration.

And also.

True North possibly is not where I think it is.

What if True North is the exact opposite of where I think it is? What if what it looks like I am supposed to do is not what I am supposed to do at all and I nearly miss it because I am aiming at the wrong thing?

What if True North IS the distraction?

What I am trying to say is I’ve been given a gift of understanding today and it would not have happened this way if Z had not deleted my original blog.

Here’s why:
While I was recovering from the traumatic experience of having my writing deleted, I sat down- in my own home- and opened the door to enjoy the nice weather… and never once did I think I might be shot for doing this.

I took a minute to look at social media and read the heartbreaking event that happened in Fort Worth yesterday about a woman who did almost exactly what I am doing now and she was shot. I can’t get my head around it. And I had a realization-I think this… this is the white privilege that I have been trying to understand. And friends- especially my brown friends- please chime in—but no one means I shouldn’t be able to do this. No one wants to take the right to sit in my home with the door open away from me, and no one is shaming me for being able to do it… people are only asking that I acknowledge that the things I am able to do- sometimes simple human pleasures- are not afforded to everyone. And that my friends is just plain wrong.

I have feared for my life before.

But not for sitting in my home. Not for getting pulled over for speeding. Not even for arguing with the cop when I get pulled over. Not for just being. And nobody is saying I should! They are saying---WE are saying- NO ONE should have to be afraid this way.

I sit here at my keyboard a little bit enlightened but also fully aware that I have not always been focused on True North. But I do know this; the way and the direction, the bearing with which we move, the azimuth, must be love.

If it isn’t, we aren’t going to get there.

Who’s with me?

Happy Sunday. Be kind and loving.