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Science Friday Seminar

This month’s science lecture was beautiful. One of our instructors is hoping to create a class about the geology of our national parks, so for research he and his wife got a camper and spent a few weeks driving around the western United States taking pictures and video to use in the classroom. It was partially research and partially vacation, so his lecture was part holiday slides (eh, eh, could be holiday snaps) and part an explanation of plate tectonics especially as they relate to the west coast. You weren’t sure what the next slide was going to be – would you see him and his dog sitting on a petrified log or would you see Pangaea. Even though it was holiday slides we enjoyed looking at them – it was gorgeous scenery. Lovely to look at regardless, but all the more interesting when he went over the various types of rocks and outcroppings, what they are, how they formed, etc. I loved the simulation of millennia passing as the North America, Pacific, and Farallon plates collided. The concepts were partly familiar from other geology classes, nature shows, and the volcano lecture I’d seen – but it was nice to get a new viewpoint and additional information. He was more casual than any of the other lecturers, which suited the holiday slides aspect of the presentation. His RV broke down during the trip, giving the stories more of an adventurous element. He was also rather funny. You are not supposed to remove anything from a national park, so he made a joke about trying to take the petrified log he and his dog were sitting on in the picture but his dog wasn’t very helpful. He also finished on time, unlike any of the lecturers before him in the series. He apologized if it was too short a lecture and said that it took him longer at home when he practiced on his parrots because they asked more questions!

I left hoping he got the class organized so that I could take it and desperate to make my own trip to some of the national parks. The thing I took most from the lecture happened at the very beginning, however. His opening comment was that no rock is an accident. There is a reason it is where it is, and it has a history. I don’t think I will look at rocks or anything else in nature the same way after that. Okay, maybe I will as life and bills and work catch back up to me and the memory of that comment fades. Still, at least for a moment I feel in awe of the pebbles I kick around on my walks. Sometimes you take things for granted or lose sight of them when you pass them every day, but upon hearing his opening comment suddenly all the rocks and trees and lakes and mountains popped back into focus as unique and special. It is still a warm fuzzy feeling inside me as I type this.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 21st, 2010 05:47 am (UTC)
The end of your post reminded me of something I was thinking today. It's not really about the same thing.... but your comment about not looking at things the same way brought it to mind.

I kinda occurred to me today that when I'm hand sewing something I'm connecting to all the people in our long history that have done the same thing. While I was button holing something I thought about all those people before me, that had done the same thing I was doing. Even through all this time we were sharing "thoughts". A stitch to far here, to tight there. It's not really something you think in words but I think you'll get my point.

It was kind of humbling, and made me feel peaceful. Like I was part of a sisterhood.

Of course the sad thing is we are a dwindling sisterhood. Fewer and fewer people sew, and even fewer of them hand sew. Although truly it is usually the best way to make things look professionally made. Well that and Ironing. Even people who do sew tend to think I'm a tad nutty.

Truth is. I love hand sewing. While it takes longer I find it very calming.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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