Turbulence: A Splash of This and That


  ∆   Looking at the satellite image from yesterday’s post, following the question-mark curve of the south fork of the Roanoke River, I realized that some days after spring seeps send their water into Goose Creek and it goes under the board we walk across, it enters Smith Mountain Lake and gives bouyancy to pontoon boats and jet skis. I wish I had not had that vision, really.

 ∆   Discovered: a new drink ~ nocino. It is made from green walnuts of all things. We have plenty of them this year–a good season it has been for mast: happy winter squirrels. Funny: I look at wikipedia’s bit about walnuts and read that the doctrine of signatures got it right: the brain-shaped meat of the walnut is indeed good for the brain, breaking down amyloid protein that is associated with Alzheimers.

 ∆   Discovered: a new word ~ umbraceous. It has two meanings: affording shade, shady (umbra is shadow or shade; the earth’s shadow on the moon in a lunar eclipse is called the umbra.) And it means easily offended, irritable (as in to take umbrage). I thought it meant to fetch out the parasol to keep the sun off the lady’s delicate complexion. I found it used by Milton somewhere, and not much else, so let’s just dust it off and get it out there. Use it today in a conversation with your mother or in your blog posts! Amaze your friends with your inability to use normal words like everybody else!

 ∆   Happy to see one of my very favorite “living?” things in all the world has now left it for outer space. Tardigrades . Ever met one? AKA “moss piglets” or “water bears”. Oh the joy of seeing a water bear through a phase contrast microscope, don’t you agree? Oops, sorry, a codger-biologist’s private reflection floating free in space.

 ∆   Time goes round and round and it comes out here. Would you want to see 17 years (or 40 years for that matter) of daily images of yourself compressed into two minutes? This guy did it . Hey man, happens about like that, and only runs in one direction, no matter if you’re a Lost Boy.

 ∆   Things fall apart. My Thinkpad is four years old, nursing home material soon, or worse by the odds. MacBook Pros are discounted in advance of the October release of the new models. Should I snatch a bargain now (image) or wait to be tempted by more expensive machines I can ill afford or justify? That is the question, I await your opinion or a Voice from the Clouds to tell me how to go.

 ∆   “The whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts.” That is reductionism in a nutshell (maybe a walnut shell?) I’ve seen examples of this kind of oversimplification lately as relates to something vastly more complex than the weather (and you know how poorly our most sophisticated computer monsters still are at putting together all those variables to explain the behaviour of the atmosphere.) But here you have it: the Commitment Gene. If you’re a vole, you monogamous mole, you are predestined by your vasopressin.

So there you have it. I found the image of the milldam on Goose Creek from the other day and was in a mindset to write about the flow of time, gravity and wrinkles and ultimate destination from a personal point of view.

I was going to write about how hard it was to decide how and where to channel my moments, these fingers on the keyboard, the willy-nilly so-called free will I’m supposed to have to do something worth doing. And this, “my friends” (no, I was not a POW) is what has come of it–these words, and two cups of Lusianne coffee with chicory. Number three, I hear you calling.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Before buying that new Mac, ask when the next version of the operating system is coming out. If my buy the Mac now and then the new system comes out in January, you’ll probably have to pay for the OS. If you wait, you’ll probably get the new OS bundled with the new Mac (or the right to get the new OS for free). That’s exactly what happened to me last year. I just had to wait a couple of months and saved myself several hundred dollars.

  2. I didn’t know you liked coffee with chicory. I’ll bring you some CDM from New Orleans, it is after all where most of the coffee comes into the states. Plain coffee doesn’t taste good. We always bring our own.

  3. Ultimate destination…Is that the final destination of the great unknown or the idealized, fantasy destination of our muddled minds?