Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Glowing Day and Night

Evening Glow: Smoky Hills of Kansas Sept. 6
One thing I love about the "glowing" theme is that so very many things glow: candles, Venus, boys playing with their grandparents, aspen leaves, Mars, the moon*.  I've started noting the difference in glows that light up the darkness and glows that dazzle in the bright sunlight.
I'm sure there is a profound metaphor there-- let me know if you find one.  For now, some photographic examples from this season:
Birthday cakes emit lovely candlelight 

Boys and eclipsing moon Sept. 27

Venus, Jupiter (and Mars) Before Sunrise Oct. 16

We tried to take a selfie with Longs Peak.  We don't practice.

Despite having seen some beautiful fall colors in many places, late every September for the last 15 years I have been sad about not being in the Colorado Rockies to see the aspen turn.  While we were well past peak aspens, we caught the very last trees on our trip two weeks ago.  They made me deliriously happy.  Aspenglow is a real thing.  People write songs about it.  They named a campground at Rocky Mountain National Park after it.  The trees really do light up with it.  It is like they are warmth botanified ("personified" applied to a plant.  Yes, I just made it up in an attempt to describe these trees).  It is wonderful to experience.

*Mars and Luna both deserve their own posts.  Maybe soon?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Basking in the reflected light

One distinction between luminosity and radiance (which, I just learned, is not the scientific difference) is that luminous objects glow with reflected light (i.e. the moon is luminous) and radiant objects (like the sun) create their own.  So it is completely in keeping with the theme of my year to glow with pride as I mention some of the amazing things my friends are doing, even though absolutely none of the credit is mine.

My college friend Witt, his wife J, and their "world-schooled" six-year-old Q, are wrapping up a two year adventure driving the length of the Americas in a van.  They are reporting from the Carreterra Austral in Chile at the moment, and the photographs of the blue waters and snow capped Andes, like most images on their blog, are stunning.   Have a look at "When Sparks Fly" before they settle down in Western Colorado.

Another college friend is just starting a year in Mexico with her husband and her three-and-a-half year-old.  While they will be living on the Pacific Coast, they are hunkering down in a safe place away from the coast at the moment.  You can read about their adventures not related to the current hurricane (like the wonders of the Baja wine region) on Debbie's blog.

Matt Cogar, a former student of mine (and defending US Champion), has advanced to the STIHL Timbersports US Championship Finals, which you can watch this Sunday on ABC (and since there is no Bronco game, and I happen to know the outcome of the competition, I am really looking forward to it).  I'm also particularly pleased that he married one of my other favorite students, and am immensely proud of her as she pursues her PhD.

SalSis, my great friend in Lawrence, KS, has tickets to go back to Haiti to teach ecology for another semester.  Want to help with the world but not pay for fundraising newsletters?  SalSis's work is low budget, local and direct.  She teaches college level ecology (to students without books or regular computer access) and also encourages collaborations between the college students and the local students so that people of all ages are starting to recognize good water quality, the importance of raptors, and that bats are not grown-up mice.  Should you ever want to take an ecotour in Haiti, she is the woman to talk to.  Check out some of the past adventures at her blog, Zwazo Yo.

And that's just the beginning of the glow of cool happenings in which I choose to bask.  Thanks for all all of you do to glow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fears about next year being here

I have exactly 6 minutes to write before class, and, as you will see, this is time sensitive material, so the editing may be poor.

I woke up up in the middle of the night last week worried about the Cubs facing the Royals in the World Series.  The Mister laughed because Royals vs. Cubs is the World Series match-up he wants to see, and why in the world would this be a problem?  In the middle of the night it was a problem because I wouldn't know who to cheer for.

Then, as the Cubs won last night, some fan commented that "It is next year," to which my immediate response was, "You shut your mouth right now young man," and then I worried as a life-long Cubs fan, exactly what would happen if the Cubs win it all.  Shouldn't we always be hoping for next year?

But deaths, accidents, and illness around me are reminding me that life is short.  I'm heading to Colorado tonight to see autumn in the Rockies (which I have been promising myself I'll do next year for 15 years) and we're sticking in a winter garden this afternoon (see here or here for some explanation about how these are related to baseball in my mind).  Maybe it is time to live like there is no next year.  Maybe next year is here.  Maybe my two second-favorite teams can face each other in the World Series and I will cheer for every game and I will be happy either way.