I’ve added a couple of new albums to my website gallery, Vols. 9 and 10, the latter being from a recent visit to the Pacific Northwest and Neah Bay.
Here are a few notes I took during my brief visit to a place that continues to beckon…
In the context of color
Native American culture (reds, oranges, blues; weaves)
cool, moist air
the Pacific Ocean
trees / rain forest (greens, yellows, reds, oranges)
Dale Chihuly (all colors)
gardens (all colors)
overcast skies (even illumination)
active volcanoes (red)
Japanese glass fishing floats
Rain forests of tall, swaying trees, abutting the Pacific Ocean, together creating a singular sonic ambience.
There’s a drug problem throughout Neah Bay, among an indigenous community established at a remote boundary, made poor and desperate by waves of progress washing over it.
Watching the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-130
The second night…
We had already gone through a scrub the previous night after communing in the cold early morning for more than four hours. Given all of the circumstances that I learned had to fall in place for an ISS shuttle mission to happen, this endeavour entered the realm of absurdity.
So, in setting out for Kennedy the second night in a row, my expectations for seeing anything spectacular seemed almost discontinuously low. Everything that seemed welcoming the first night gave me the cold shoulder on the second. The air seemed colder, the ground seemed damper, the other people seemed ambivalent towards not only the prospects for launch, but also the program’s future. The feeling in the air was that it’s time to move on to a NASA-less world.
Every reaction was easily composed from a familiar emotional palette: ambivalence toward rationality and hope, retreat from discomfort, and admitting fatigue
About two hours into the second night, the emcee for the night’s festivities announced that in contrast to the previous night, that night’s weather situation was less dynamic, and the thick ceiling that smothered us the night before was breaking to the east and moving towards Kennedy. That was undeniably good news, but we had no reason to believe yet that we would see the space shuttle launch.
At about an hour before launch, the sky cleared completely, and the international emergency landing sites reported ‘green‘.
At about 30 minutes before launch, we realized we were going to see a shuttle launch. People started to come out of their cars and find a spot to watch.
At about five minutes before launch, our pre-existing emotional palette began to fail in the glare of the reality that the shuttle is about to launch. There was a little bit of confusion over what to think and do.
At thirty seconds before launch, we felt completely inadequate and crazed.
And then the countdown started. I felt this weird painful heat swell-up inside, and experienced a shock of anticipating something awesome that I was completely unprepared for. I had had dreams on numerous occasions over the past decade of the ten seconds before witnessing a distant nuclear explosion, and this may have hit upon that. The ignition certainly resembled the horrific growth seen in my nightmares. Oh my God. But as it rose, this shock was immediately replaced by awe of a spiritual vision, the visualization of Greek myth. A flame was audaciously rising through the cloud-filled sky in hopes of reaching the Heavens, and we cheered it. The higher it went, the more was at stake.
And when it reached a point where it had left us behind, we said goodbye and good luck. I realized that the light in the sky wasn’t going to land somewhere else – it was going to keep ascending, for a long time. And it was going to orbit the Earth.
Humans / Nature
Is human life unnatural?
Like many other life forms, we are aware of our influence within the grande scheme of things. Guilt and insecurity causes us to feel bad and correct our behavior when we negatively affect other life directly or indirectly.
When we separate life into humanity and nature, though, we define nature as all Earth processes excluding humanity, for the purpose of understanding the effects we have on them. But we are as “natural” a process to Earth as any other that has, or will occur.
When we differentiate humanity and nature, it’s as if we are declaring that humans were applied to Earth by an extraterrestrial process, and that we are only guests.
Pg. 702, Gardner’s Art Through the Ages (7th ed.) :
“The contradiction between the formal villa and informal gardens was apparently not at once felt; for one thing, in the early eighteenth century the meaning of “nature” had not been agreed upon; was it, in the classical sense, a regularity of proportion, or, in the newer sense, the irregularity of growing things with their wildness and accidents – in a word, their picturesque or even their primitiveness? In the end it would be decided that all historical styles are “natural”, since they evolved historically from the artistic instincts of peoples, who are after all part of nature.”