Monday, August 28, 2017

"The Feather King"

A little something for everyone in this little film: birds, fish, Darwin (who, after all, intensively studied variation and selection under domestication), and a bit of Colorado scenery. Meet the proprietor of Whiting Farms:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

An open letter

To: The engineering firm of Newton, Kepler, & Halley


I write to congratulate you on the success of yesterday's programme. You will no doubt be pleased to know that the eclipse was very well received by the public, and while there were, inevitably, a few cynical detractors ("a hell of a lot of fuss for two minutes' shade" was overheard at one point during the festivities), their mutterings were lost amongst the huzzahs, the cheers of "bravo" and "bravissimo".

This positive reception emboldens me to make a suggestion, or at least a request. Now, I am aware that as engineers your primary concern is for the workings of the planetary system, that the beauty of mathematical truth must for you shine so much brighter than the merely aesthetic beauty experienced by the lay public, but the phenomenon is so ineffably pretty that...well, frankly, it's a pity it doesn't happen with greater frequency. I'm not asking you to move heaven and, on reflection, I suppose that's exactly what I'm asking...but might we do it again soon?


An appreciative citizen

Friday, August 18, 2017

Three days hence...

"Three days hence, there will be a day without a night...and a night without a day."

Here's hoping for a bit less swordplay...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Carolina grown

Farmers' markets are a treat for the senses, and the big one in Durham, North Carolina is probably the best I've seen. A good day with friends Evelyn & Jeff from university days, and cousin Kristina. Fortunately, Jessa brought a camera to document the bounty of Carolina's farms in July.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Church of the Red Fox, revisited

I've written about St. John's in the Valley before, but only recently have I had the chance to take Jessa there. Here it is through her lens.

[Gothic arches abound.]

[Windows, doors, and gates.]

[Wrought-iron fences marking off family plots.]

[Jess was immediately drawn to the sundial, as I had been years earlier, but shot it differently...]

[The steeple again...]

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Impressions from a dinner party

The Hellenic and Latinate ornateness of the names, "raven-vulture cloaked in black" and "golden purifier", so at odds with western perceptions of the birds...

The Serengeti politics of the proceedings... The utter self-assurance of the BVs as they stride up to assume possession of the carcass, the calm resignation of the TVs as they stand aside to relinquish the same, for what bird could be more inclined to fatalism than a turkey vulture...

The heat, the stench, the clouds of flies, the indifference of the birds to all of these...

The intimacy and apparent gentleness of the feeding, a bill nuzzling into the hair to snip a morsel of sustenance from the body, a sort of communion...

Intimacy and communion of another sort, too, that only occurs when the living confront the dead. Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well...

Above all, the ordinariness of the scene, for as dramatic as it may seem to us mortals, and as final as it may seem for the deer, the reality is that this happens every day, that it will happen every day, that the birds are rightly confident in its happening every day...