This is a log of my everyday existence. There are no themes here. If it’s on my mind, I’ll write about it here.
Category : Journal
I love the pull of the string, the way the wind changes and makes me pull harder or not as hard against it. I love the colors of my kite against the clear blue sky. I love the physics in play, the aerodynamics of drag and lift, the tensile strength of the string, the pressure differences that create the gusts that try to take my kite away from me. I love the blissful relaxation of having a good reason to lay back in the greening grass and have nothing more to do than to hold onto a spool of string. But more than any of that, I love the way the string sings in the wind. When I put my ear against it, I can hear its music, a long violin string bowed by the wind. In that moment, all my senses are engaged, completely connected to nature by the simplest of means: a string and a kite.
For almost everyone, only the tiniest fraction of the words we say are ever recorded. Only in very special circumstances are a significant number of our words written down or recorded in audio or video medium. Yet each and every one of the words we say are recorded forever in what they created or destroyed in the world. What they created continues to create. What they destroyed is dead, never to create again. The world today is the consequence of every word spoken throughout all history leading up to this very moment. Where will it go from here? Speak thoughtfully.
You were made for a purpose. You were given a personality perfect for that purpose. You were given talents, gifts, and interests for that purpose. You experience the way you do, learn the way you do, relate the way you do, for that purpose. You fulfill that purpose simply by being you. You cannot help but fulfill that purpose, for you cannot be anyone other than you. No choice you make can change that. You can be miserable being yourself, or you can enjoy being yourself. You can be yourself for a short time, or a long time. These are your choices.
While I sync my twitter stream to this blog weekly, I haven’t actually posted here for a while, so I thought I’d just give an update on why my creative writing has seemed to staunch. A year ago, in October 2012, I was re-introduced to the local astronomy club, the Twin City Amateur Astronomers. I’d been a member as a young man, leaving the club for college in the mid-70’s. Computer programming, music, marriage, family, career, kids in college, and a whole host of other things kept my attention in the intervening years. In those years, the club continued and grew in its capabilities. I ran into a member I knew from those days, and he told me about the incredible equipment now available to club members and so I decided to check it out. When I saw the facility they had, with a very large telescope dedicated to astrophotography, I was instantly hooked. I rejoined the club and began to learn the art and science of making images of the heavens. I’ve loved every minute of it in the past year.
As a result of the time I’ve spent and the coaching I’ve received, I’ve become a decent astrophotographer. I certainly wouldn’t assert that I’m anywhere near proficient, but I’m moving in that direction. Astrophotography is an extremely technical discipline coupled with the creative art of making beautiful imagery. I love the juxtaposition of those two aspects. It challenges me intellectually, creatively, and gives me plenty of time to think. My average image requires several nights of imaging to acquire the data for the image, and most of that time is spent in solitude, looking at the sky and considering what it means to me. On one of those nights, I tried to write that down. The Comfort of the Astronomer is the short piece that resulted. I think it captures it all perfectly for me.
Here is one of my most recent images. It is of a galaxy, very close to us, 2.5 million light years distant. There is so much to discuss about the astrophysics present in the image, but to me, it’s simply beautiful. I hope you enjoy it. You can see all my images on my Astrobin page.
In the tumult of human woes, personal and global, the universe presents itself as our ultimate context. Our pale blue dot defines our scope, and it is surrounded by beauty we are only beginning to imagine, serenity of the greatest magnitude, timeless and ancient, the matter from which all our matters have come. One glimpse into its vastness reduces the significance of our present troubles, not to nothingness, but to reasonableness. This same universe has illuminated every human crisis of any and all proportion, almost all of which have simply been forgotten by now. Who is to say tomorrow’s weepings will endure for any longer than those of the countless wars, catastrophes, disasters, and dramas of humanity’s last few millennia? The universe blinks. Our troubles have passed. Its beauty remains. This is the comfort of the astronomer.
The Center of the Rose
This image is one of my own, taken in early January, 2013.
At fifty-five, I am not old enough for light to have
traveled from one edge of this image to the other.