Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fata Morgana

ABC Wednesday
August 16th, 2017

The letter is F for FATA MORGANA

Earth Science Picture of the Day is a service of Universities Space Research Association

A Fata Morgana is a complex form of
superior mirage that is seen in a narrow band right
above the horizon.

This particular Fata Morgana is a mirage observed
from Brittany, France, and it is affecting the rather featureless
Island of  Ile d'Houat, located about eleven miles from 
the shoreline.

This photo was taken by Guillaume Doyen who says
"notice that parts of the island seem to be floating or looming.
Mirages such as this occur when there's a steep temperature
gradient.:  when a layer of colder air (immediately above the seawater)
is trapped below a layer of warmer air - a temperature inversion. the temperature at the time the picture was snapped was 98F"

Guilllaume Doyen goes on to say
"under these conditions light rays from a distant object
(the island) are curved toward the eye by layers of air
having different densities, caused by the abrupt temperature gradient.
So it seems that the island is more or less smeared upwards into a cliff."

This Fata Morgana mirage lasted for a little more than an hour.

Before science began to look into mirages, and their cause,
mirages were firmly in the realm of mysticism, and the fata morgana
takes its name from Morgan le Fay, that wicked half sister of King Arthur,
enchantress and treacherous fairy.

You may well ask how bending light creates a mirage,
 and here is where your brain enters the picture.

I learned this online, and I quote verbatim....

"When light hits your eyes, your brain assumes it arrived there in a straight path between you and the object reflecting the light.  So if light is bent on its way toward you your brain will think the object is where it would be if the light's path was straight.  This is why when you are looking down on a surface of water, objects under the surface will appear to be in a different spot than they actually are.....the human brain doesn't automatically account for refraction"

The writer of this article goes on to say 
"the brains of some birds like ospreys do correct for the effect
so that when they dive headlong into the water after a fish,
they are right on target"

but I digress.....

Christina Rossetti wrote a poem entitled FATA MORGANA
and it goes like this....

A blue-eyed phantom far before
is laughing, leaping toward the sun:
Like lead I chase it evermore,
I pant and run.

It breaks the sunlight bound on bound:
Goes singing as it leaps along
To sheep-bells with a dreamy sound
A dreamy song.

I laugh, it is so brisk and gay;
It is so far before, I weep:
I hope I shall lie down some day,
Lie down and sleep.

Perhaps she was referring to the constantly changing conditions 
of the atmosphere which causes the Fata Morgana
to change within just a few seconds of time,
alternating between stretched and compressed zones,
either erect or upside down.

If you are interested in reading more of the history of the Fata Morgana
I would suggest you Google 
"Fantastically wrong: the bizarre mirages that once 
scared the bejesus out of sailors"

and perhaps some day you might be in the right place at the right time
and see for yourself the fantastic
Fata Morgana

For more interesting Fs visit here
at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to all who maintain and visit....

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Evening

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

No rain, but a lovely smokeless day!  The first in two weeks when we have not been besieged by great drifts of smoke from the wildfires in the interior of B.C., - the central portion where a few of my dear children are waiting, ready and prepared in case they not only have smokey days but also flames coming along to their fifty acres of meadow on the mountaintop.

Whenever I have been inclined to complain about smoke, or when I hear someone else complaining, I always say "but no flames!!"

Rain would be nice...the garden looks perky in the morning, but by this time of night the pots are crying for their evening watering.

Last night after my evening stroll with Bruce I gathered up all the outdoor pillows and tucked them into the sun porch, in preparation for the rain the weatherman promised.  It DID rain, in Penticton, in Kelowna, and up the valley, but here in the semi-desert Similkameen, not a drop!

It rained in the Chilcotin, where the fires are prevalent, but it rained mud and ash, all over the windows, said he who had to wash them....

Well, anyway, the garden is golden in these hot, dry August days.

and in the evening I luxuriate beside the Nicotiana that grows in a pot next to the swinging garden couch, enveloped in its beautiful scent.

The evening are shortening, and it is time for Bruce and I to take a walk up the lane.

I will linger awhile and commune with the white blossoms
before I come in for the night.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Elephant and his epistemology

ABC Wednesday
August 9th, 2017

The letter is E for Elephant and Epistemology

The Blindmen and the Elephant

It was six men of Indostan, to learning much inclined
who went to see the elephant (Though all of them were blind)
that each by observation, might satisfy his mind.

The first approached the elephant, and, happening to fall,
against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl;
'God bless me! but the elephant is nothing but a wall!'

The second feeling of the tusk, cried; 'Ho! What have we here,
so very round and smooth and sharp?  To me tis mighty clear,
this wonder of an elephant, is very like a spear!'

The third approached the animal, and, happening to take
the squirming trunk within his hands, 'I see' quoth he,
'the elephant is very like a snake!'

The fourth reached out his eager hand, and felt about the knee;
'What most this wondrous beast is like, is mighty plain, ' quoth he.
'Tis clear enough the elephant is very like a tree.'

The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said; "E'en the blindest man
can tell what this resembles most;  Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant, is very like a fan!'

The sixth no sooner had begun, about the beast to grope,
than, seizing on the swinging tail, that fell within his scope,
'I see' quoth he, 'the elephant is very like a rope!'

And so these men of Indostan, disputed loud and long,
each in his own opinion, exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!

So, oft in theologic wars, the disputants, I ween,
tread on in utter ignorance, of what each other mean,
and prate about the elephant, not one of them has seen!

John Godfrey Saxe

This tale is ancient, originating in the sub-continent of India
and has an epistemic context in that it regards
the way we absorb human knowledge
- and its limitations....!!!!

"all these partial truths could be integrated within
a bigger picture so long as you have eyes to transcend
your own limited perspective."

A good thing to keep in mind when you are
judging other's opinions!!

Lots more Es here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to all who maintain this exhilarating meme.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

What to do on a smokey Saturday afternoon....

August 5th, 2017

As the sun rose this morning it greeted the Similkameen
with the promise of a smoldering, smokey Saturday
but somewhere the wind changed directions
and although the scent of the air is still reminiscent
of wildfires, in the distance,
it was still pleasant to be outside for a while,
watering the pots and moving the garden sprinklers around.

The house is all closed up, and the A/C hums away...
so nice and cool I am glad of a sweater.

Along about August in days gone by the peaches would be
getting ripe in the orchard, - fuzzy and warm!

The children would be wary of Mother when she came in from picking peaches...
they tell me now!!
And I must admit to being a cranky peach picker until 
a shower made me feel civilized again.....

But how we all loved peaches, - dessert was easy those August days
peaches and cream, peach crumble, ice cream and peaches,
peaches and chocolate cake....

After we moved to town, bereft of fresh peaches right off the tree,
I used to go to fruit stands and beg for their over-ripes,
(which they didn't sell to tourists)
hurry home, slice them up, and Charles and I would be in peach-heaven!

Because it is really not wise to be out gardening while we are bathed in smoke
I have been keeping busy in the house.
Well, not busy cleaning and re-arranging cupboards,
or dusting, or baking.....
just busy in the loom room and reading a bit.

I had hoped to start off August with a bare-naked loom, and I did
finish the garden scarf I was working on
but when it was all done and I threw the last pick
I discovered I had probably a yard and a half left on my warp,
quizzical as to what I was going to do with it!!!

I also have four bobbins of 20/2 white silk
and two bobbins of green silk, left over from other projects,
and I am hoping that they will stretch to make a rather shorter scarf
with a rather longer fringe on it!!!

As to the reading.....whilst roaming through blogland
I came upon a recommendation to read
Phil Rickman's series about Merrily Watkins, a Vicar
(Priest in charge) of a parish in  Bedfordshire (or Hertfordshire,
depending upon when the boundaries were changed). 
 In any case, from the home of some of my ancestors, which tempted me to
read at least the first book "The Wine of Angels"
I am at page 71 and think I am going to enjoy it! 

I have also been fiddling with the ukulele, if that is possible....

The other day I came upon the ukulele chords for "Bring me Sunshine",
which I love.... and they are easy enough for me to play.
I strum away, and sing to myself, missing
Charles who always helped me stay in tune when he sang beside me....

If I wasn't a church-goer and still believed
what I learned in Sunday School I could imagine him
looking down from heaven (gold streets, clouds, harps, etc.)
but there, the years have confused me and I don't know where his spirit is.
I feel him close and the memory of his lovely clear tenor is very dear, - 
and I imagine what fun we would have had if I had discovered
the ukulele earlier....

This one will make you dance....

Monday, July 31, 2017


ABC Wednesday
August 2nd, 2017

The letter is D for The Dolomites

The Dolomites

A mountain range in Northern Italy 

forming part of the Southern Limestone Alps.

The Dolomites are also known as

The Pale Mountains, 

They take their name from the 
carbonate rock, dolomite

The Dolomites are renowned for skiing in the winter,

mountain climbing, hiking and cycling

in the summer.

As you can image

The Dolomite mountain area abounds

in tourists

and here is a bird's eye view of

the lovely mountains

More Ds here http://abcwednesday.comat ABC Wednesday
with thanks to all who maintain this meme

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunny Sunday Morning - This and That

July 30th, 2017

Saying goodbye to this hot, hot dry month of wildfires
 resulting in a dire game of musical accommodations
for those poor people in towns affected by the flames that have been devastating
the central part of our Province.

So many families leaving homes threatened by fire;
 so many other little towns nudging over to make room for these evacuees
 and welcoming them with hospitality and compassion.

Will August be any better?  
The weather makes no promises for rain in the next three weeks
but the last two weeks of August have invariably been damp and cloudy, 
and one can only hope.....

Our own dear ones still under Evacuation Orders, 
but like so many in the Chilcotin who have stayed home to protect their property,
 were elated to finally get into town (after three weeks) 
to re-stock groceries and farm supplies 
and that little refreshment after a long, hot, smokey day!!!

Here at home I have plans for August.
Well, I have plans for every month, - not always ones that reach fruition,
 but nevertheless ones that make the month meaningful.

I hope to greet the new month with an empty loom,
 having great and illustrious visions of finishing
my Summer Garden Scarf today.

Sometimes my hopes, no matter how great or illustrious, forget
to take into account the amount
of energy available to me in one afternoon!!!!

Tomorrow is the last day of July, so that gives me
twenty-four hours grace.......

Here in mid-summer, as the days grow shorter (than they were)
I take Bruce out for his evening jaunt a little earlier
and at the end of the lane the sweet sliver of the new moon
grows a little each night.
If it is dark enough a gleaming scythe, holding
the old moon in its arms.
mister google

That choice of words is quite ominous and I didn't mean it to be
It is really very beautiful, despite having rather
dark connotations!!

During these summery days when the car finds a home
at the front drive-in, rather than in the garage,
it has been easy to hop in and go visiting or to shop
but lurking in the back of my mind  l am conscious of the fact
that the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles is going to run his finger
down the list of drivers in their nineties
and when he discovers my name he will immediately jot it down
on the list of the ancient who will receive orders to visit
their Doctor before the next birthday rolls around
so that he can examine your wits, your eyesight, and any other physical factor
which might give the Doctor pause to recommend that
you continue to drive.....

I ponder this, and wonder if I should make the effort to keep my license.
I don't worry too much about my wits and general health,
but I know they place a great emphasis on eyesight
and IF I plan to continue to have that precious piece of paper I must
make an appointment with the Optometrist, Dr. Zak,.

Probably in August!!

Which brings me to my next "this and that" for the month...

Charles mobile electric cart sits in the garage, fully charged,
just waiting for me to feel less vulnerable when I take it down the lane,
trying to get familiar with the beast.

Last Sunday I went for supper with a dear son and DIL
and during the course of the meal the subject of the cart came up,
and my reluctance to use it.
Son said - "It's just that she doesn't want to be seen on it..."
And I have to acknowledge that he is right.
Dratted ego again!
Don't want to appear ancient
and one of the crowd who swish down the road, 
flags flying on their mechanical cart...

So that is on my August list, (as it has been on every monthly list
for the last three or four years)
But this time I am DETERMINED.

On my list for today is the creation of a number of small quiches
(company coming for lunch during the week)
and I think it is time for kitchen duties.

Tomorrow I will pay obeisance to the White Rabbit,
but today I must say farewell to July
and put the air conditioner on...

Right now!!!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

C is for Crow

ABC Wednesday
July 26th, 2017

The letter is C for CROW

Every morning
along the beach

as though he found the world
brand new,
and wonderful,
and without a doubt,

made especially for him.
The eiders stare,
the black ducks are busy
with their own affairs

as he marches 
along the wrack line
on his sturdy feet
to the bounty of stranded sea worms,

abandoned bags of popcorn
"oh yes" his big black beak seems to say,
"this is good,
here is breakfast and lunch both

and as for dinner
I'll be back.
What a good world!"

I wish we could be friends,
but when he sees me
daring to look at him
he opens his strong arms

that are dressed,  always, in the darkest ribbons,
and floats off...

but only a little way
and he's down again on the sandy track -

and who has seen yet anything cleaner,
more gleaming, more certain of its philosophy
than the eye he turns back?

Mary Oliver

More Cs here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Melody and 
all who maintain this meme