Snows of Narnia

If every snowflake is different, then every snowfall must be too.

This one was unique. It was the last snow to fall before my personal odometer turns to a new zero.

And so I am trying to pay attention to the details. And the details of this snow were worth attending.

I confess I used PixelBender oil paint filter to attenuate the branching snow shapes just a little; it impressed me as a scene out of a fairy tale–maybe Chronicles of Narnia, and so I rendered the image to bring that out a bit. [click to enlarge image ]

SomeWhere

From Bethlehem Church Road, Floyd County Virginia. Click image to enlarge.

And SomeWhen.

Finding the pot of gold means a bit of good luck. And keeping your eyes open. And having a camera in your pocket 24/7. And stopping in the rain to step out of your car in the middle of a county road to save the moment.

I once reflected on the place of photographs in my life:

“Film became a way to preserve present moments in a clear resin of recall. Every photograph set a benchmark in time, held a unique instant in the emulsion of memory, captured in perfect synchrony that vertical line of precise moment that intersects the coordinates of particular place.”

It may be maudlin and saccharine, but Kodak moments anchor us in person, place, space and time. And I am thankful to have had more than my share of them.

And a bit more of the reflection on time (from What We Hold in Our Hands):

“No two photographic markers were the same, and there was no going back. With my lens, I fished from the moving stream of time as days flowed through the faces I knew, past the places I loved, leaving the lived, the known moments bobbing on its glassy surfaceÑdeeper down, farther back, receding Doppler-like across a realm that I could photograph, could know just once, just now.

I have spent decades more behind the camera, no longer wishing I were older, happy for the past, but savoring photographic instants in the present when one face or one flower, one sunset, yet another family pet or one more grandchild’s candle-covered birthday cake fills the viewfinder and moves on downstream.”

 

Water Matters: Kids Care

I suppose I have been conditioned to expect disappointment when facing the recently-uncommon opportunity to speak to college-aged students.

On more than one occasion, the apathy and disrespect of classes at “real colleges” has left me saddened and discouraged, knowing that at least these groups of young people will not be the ones to pick up the torch in the struggle to save what is left of our planet.

So I was pleasantly surprised last night to find 20 students from the University of Delaware engaged, sincerely interested, respectful and mature.

The topic for their spring break was “water issues in the Blue Ridge of Virginia” and they elected to spend their time at this task–not for the credit or to avoid dysfunctional families or any of the other reasons I have heard for NOT going to the beach with the rest of their classmates in March. These students came to learn, and I have not had any other group of students–including at Radford University or Virginia Tech where I have guest-lectured–as attentive and appreciative.

You can find the link to the Prezi program (slide show thingy) along with links to some of the topics contained therein, at this MilaNote page.

 

Progressive Life in the Slow Lane

Or maybe not so slow after all?

This might not matter much to many, but those who use the Internet for work or study or research, the difference between waiting five minutes to download a 45 minute documentary on a topic and waiting 1.7 seconds adds up over a week when you do this countless times a day.

So as hard as it is to realize it is really gonna happen, Goose Creek Press will soon operate at GIGABIT download, 500mbps upload speeds.

Go to FastMetrics to see a bigger version of the graph above from that site.  Most households in Floyd County connect at 3mbps I think. Some less than that.

And thanks to Citizens Coop for making this happen. In my lifetime. If they hurry! Come on, folks, deferred gratification is not something I want anything more to do with after turning the corner on 70 before long.

 

 

Water: the Medium of Life

When we explore other planets and wonder if life could have existed there, it is not carbon or silicon or even amino acids we look for at first. We look for water.

Without it, so far as we know, life is not possible. This is not to say that biotic entities cannot survive in dormancy for long periods–hundreds of years or longer–in a dehydrated state. Tardigrades are champs at this.

But for the most part, access to water is the limiting factor for land creatures and all aquatic–salt or fresh–plants and animals.

Closer to home, it turns out that forests are pretty good at finding available water, even from fissures underground. And given Floyd County’s fractured rock, the fact that this can be a source of survival water during times of drought gives a bit of comfort. [click image for source article/ Berkeley News. ]

I will be meeting with some spring-breaking students from U of Del next week at Apple Ridge here in FloydCo to have a discussion about water in the Blue Ridge, and this is one of the things we will talk about.

And given my current need to stay focused and not get too sidetracked, if and when I blog, it will generally be from stuff I already have on hand related to what I am working on at the time. So fire me.