August 7th, 2008

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Good Morning!

Yesterday was my day with Zach - Zach Time.  I got in trouble because I didn't get him back in time.  Zach and I aren't in to time, and he is always so good and we have so much to explore.  How can we stop and next time we will be more accountable as to time.

We started with the cherry tomatoes, picking them and discussing ripeness and vines and tree trunks, and then we played with two Thomas train engines.  Zach stops sometimes to hug Lady.  He wraps her in his arms and hugs her to his chest.

We took the train engines on an adventure all over the yard.  We saw how a flower stem is a tree for a tiny train.

We splashed in the water and played with all his water toys.

Then, we were hungry so we went to "The Village" for a hot dog.  That is what Zach likes to eat when we are together.  It takes a long time to eat lunch as the hot dog is cut into bites, the all natural, nitrate free, and on and on hot dog because this is Marin.  The guy tried to talk me into something else that had taste he said, but we went for health, and also, got the unsweetened apple juice.   Zach eats the dog and then eats the bun.  All the time, he is looking around and I am looking at him.  I am enchanted.

We walked by fountains and stopped at each one, until we got to the play area.  Wow!   Zach did well, climbed up on a dragonfly, crawled through a log, lounged in a boat, hopped on to a pelican, and rode on a frog.  He was trying to climb up on the back of a turtle when an older  little girl, someone around four,  helpfully pointed out that she had learned to crawl up on the turtle by starting at the head.  I could see where that would be an easier place to start but the head was in the sun and hot so there you have it.  The turtle waits.

On the way home in the car, Zach asked me what makes me sad.   It seems his adult family members had met with a psychologist to learn how to separate out what is normal for a two year old and what might be coming up for someone whose mother is going through a bone marrow transplant.  He is learning to differentiate happiness, fear, sorrow, anger.    Before he asked, he had said, "I am happy," and I said, "I am happy too."

I didn't know how to answer what makes me sad.  I stumbled and then said, "I'm sad when my friends are sad," and maybe that is what it is.  I'm sad that people are starving, that children aren't given every opportunity, that a marine recruiter in Houston would lie to an 18 year old boy and tell him he will go to jail if he chooses college over Iraq.   That makes me sad, and angry, too.

Notice your emotions today, your feelings.

Be like Zach!

He is a treasure of a guy, a gift to the world.

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I have a new computer monitor.  It stands sleek and tall, and is big enough that I can easily see the larger screen.  Also, though the other one stood on a pile of books it was never quite high enough.  This one is just right.

I am entranced, and that has led to a flurry of cleaning up and out, so that the rest of the desk fits more easily with the new screen.   I am in a lovely clean-up and out mode.

Also, Will is building a new front deck on the house, taking off the old one that Steve built many years ago, and replacing and extending it.  That has me in a flurry of excitement around the entry.  All the plants have taken notice, and my favorite rocks are being considered for a new location.   Even they seem to be standing a little higher in their slow molecular whirl.

I love the following article and imagining  "lines of magnetism reaching toward the moon, capturing the solar wind as if they were sails, and then spilling the wind’s particles into Earth’s atmosphere."    Wow!  

I am filled with appreciation at all that swirls around the earth and me each day.


Behind the Aurora Borealis

Published: August 6, 2008

When was the last time you thought about the Earth’s magnetic field? Or, for that matter, the solar wind? Perhaps now is a good time to do so.

Last year, NASA launched a constellation of five new satellites to investigate substorms — celestial events caused when the Earth’s magnetic field captures energy from the solar wind and then releases it. Data from the satellites and ground observations show that the Earth’s magnetic field lines — stretched well into space by the solar wind — suddenly snap back into place like giant rubber bands and shower the planet with solar particles. As astronomers have recently reported, that sudden release of energy is what causes the northern lights to flicker and dance.

If you have ever seen the northern lights, you know they cause a wonder that is itself a kind of question. We’re used to clouds sliding past on a windy day and the steady, predictable movements of celestial objects. But there is something startling about the aurora borealis, and not least its unpredictability. To see great sinuous sheets of light towering over the dark horizon is to feel that some fundamental force is being illuminated in the most diaphanous of ways. Until now, the cause of the aurora’s sudden shifts in mood was unclear. Now we know.

Perhaps it’s better simply to say that now astronomers know. What we get to do instead is imagine. The next time you see the northern lights, you’ll be able to imagine immense lines of magnetism reaching toward the moon, capturing the solar wind as if they were sails, and then spilling the wind’s particles into Earth’s atmosphere. What we are seeing, in a sense, is the last iridescence of a particle-breeze blowing outward from the Sun.