Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sun Burst

Holes in the Sun: shown here in false-color, this picture of the Sun on March 9th was
made in extreme ultraviolet light. Hmmmm. Looks yellow to me. The photo was taken on the space-based SOHO observatory. Coronal holes like these are known to be the source of high speed solar wind.


Today the Mormon Tabernacle Choir celebrates its 4,000 th broadcast, airing every Sunday, rain or shine, since 1929! May peace be with you, this day, and always ....

Friday, April 28, 2006

Birthday Mosaic

The Crab Nebula is cataloged as M1, the very first object on Charles Messiers famous list of things which are not comets. This supernova remnant was first witnessed by astromoners in 1054. The spooky blue interior glow is emitted by high energy electrons from a central pulsar. The Crab Nebula is about 6,500 light years away in the constellation Taurus. Which is my husband's birthsign! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, dear!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Arizona Sky

Thought you might enjoy this time-lapse photo. I think it's cool!

Click it!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Snow Goose

There is a cloud -- bird shaped ,
moving lightly ahead of the sun --
that brightens and grows clearer:
a snow goose
of downey breast, white beak,
and wings that reach halfway
around the world.

Measure me, Goose-In-The-Sky!
a boy sailing the summer air
arms outstretched on mosaic grass
soft as grandmother's goosedown bed,
breath swirling in each cell,
blood, muscles, skin, eyelids
warmed to bursting,
(each particle of light
between bird and boy

Watch: the goose
lifts its white wings, becomes
a pitcher of milk, then
a horse racing the goldenrod sun,
finally, a cat curling on pillows.

At last
it breaks mid-air, runs with elusive
speed, spills and whitens
in the sky until God Himself
shows up.

Only wait.

From In Willy's House)

Monday, April 17, 2006

More Fractals

Things that are not differentiable.

OK. I see a whirlpool
Yawning at the heart of things.
In grave procession seasons, elements, creatures, kings
Ride the slowly sinking carrousel
From which they will never, not in ten million
Years, nor in any form, return....

--James Merrill, Mandala

Mandelbrot Rules!

A fractal is any pattern that reveals greater complexity as it is enlarged--so, fractals graphically portray the notion of 'worlds within worlds'. Things that seem to be random, or even chaotic, such as smoke rising, clouds, coastlines, treebark, leaves, roots, lightning, planetary orbits, galaxies, music, human body rhythms, animal group behavior, geologic activity, mathematical equations, the human brain, etc., are actually quite orderly. And quite beautiful.

"The closer you come, the more detail you see -- forever. Infinity is implicit and invisible in the computations of calculus, but explicit and graphically manifest in fractals."

--Alan Beck

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Prairie Easter

The Holy Harvest

Passover lambs
white and undefiled, number
three hundred thousand (a single days
slain all between the ninth
and the eleventh hours. The paschal lambs,
the paschal Lamb bleed together.

One hundred twenty four miles
west of Laramie, where the trail crosses
the Platte, wagons, loaded,
in close file, draw at the river
for Sabbath
to marvel at the weight of sinless

sacrifice that saved the world
by love -- a sacrament
of broken bread, of water,
in remembrance of broken body,
blood, and tears,
where neither spire, or parish church,

nor organ churns litanies: but men
with stiff chaffed flesh,
whose awkward fingers lift
the cup to lips to slake a thirst
for immortality, ignite a radiance
against the Second Death.

The burden is lifted
from Golgotha. Sleep on now.
Take your rest. The curse
is lifted. Seeds of death sown daily
in the dark coagulum of pericardial blood
become a holy harvest.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Possible Things

... if Christ had not Risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death, that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no Resurrection. But there is a Resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. He is the Light, the Life, and the Hope of the World. Yea, a Light that is Endless, that can never be darkened. Yea, and also a Life which is Endless, that there can be no more death. Yea, and also a Hope which is Endless. that there can be no despair, nor despondency, but only a Perfect Brightness of Hope, now and forever more, until the end of our days, Amen.

(Mosiah 16:6-9, with Hope added)

Satisfied that, sometimes when my faith waivers, I can cry out with the father of the child St. Mark describes, who "fell on the ground, and wallowed, foaming," who said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

And Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible.

Lord, I have hope, and a desire to believe. Help thou mine unbelief.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sun Halo Over Utah

This fairly common sight occurs when high thin clouds containing millions of tiny ice crystals cover much of the sky. Check out the flock of birds caught by chance in the foreground. Cool!

Click the pic to make it big enough to see the birds ...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Black Cloud B68

Where did all the stars go? What used to be considered a hole in the sky is now known to be a dark molecular cloud, where a high concentration of dust and gas absorb practically all visible light. But, this eerie dark is also known to be a likely place for new stars to form!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Glass Window ...

... Under your name
The images of village, hill and home,
And crystal England stands against the dark.

The path cut in the pane most worries me,
Coming from nowhere, moving into nowhere.
Is it the road to the land no traveller
Tells of; I turn away, knowing it is, for me,

That sullen lane leading you out of sight,
In darkening France, the road taken.
Suddenly I feel the known world shaken
By gunfire, by glass breaking. In comes the night.

--Leslie Norris, A Glass Window, In Memory of Edward Thomas,
at Eastbury Church

RIP Leslie Norris (1920-2006)

World-renowned poet Leslie Norris, a native of Wales who most recently served as BYU's Emeritus Poet-in-Residence, died Thursday, April 6. As a teenager, he pedaled his bicycle to a nearby town where a group of poets read their works in a room above a bookstore. Among the poets was a young Dylan Thomas. Decades later, Norris read poetry at the unveiling of Thomas' memorial stone in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abby.

Leslie Norris was a great man, a great poet and writer of stories, a great teacher. I loved him, and I shall miss him.


Thr border I knew best was halfway over
the bridge between the town and Breconshire.
the river's neutral water
moved on
to other boundaries.

I walked the bridge each Saturday, stopped
at a guess measure,
lived a moment in adventurous limbo.
Did I stand on air then, invisibly taken to some unknown
world, some nowhere?
Where was I then? I was whole
but felt an unseen line
divide me, send my strong half forward
keep my other timidly at home.
I have always lived that way,
crossed borders resolutely
while looking over my shoulder.

Not long ago
driving in America
in high cold desert country below the Rockies,
I saw at the roadside
parked on an acre open as the moon,
a ring of shabby cars
old Chevvies and Caddies,
some prosperous trucks.
The Indians were showing on folding tables
their ceremonial silver, heavy necklaces, rich
with turquoise and hammered squash-blossom,
oval silver bangles.

Navajo and Zuni.
old tribes, hardy and skilled.
They stood behind their work in the flat wind,
not smiling.
I love the things they make,
haggled for a buckle for my belt,
silver, a design
rayed like the cold sun,
and, walking away, saw
cut into the concrete
the meeting place of four states.
Crouched there, I placed a foot in Utah,
a foot in Arizona, my palms flat in the dust
of Colorado and New Mexico.

Restless as dust, scattered

A man I knew, my old friend,
moved out as I did, but returned,
followed his eyes and crossed the borders
into his own country. When he left,
it was to see his place from a distance
and peacefully go home. The world grew small
for him, to one country, a city, a house.

His mother, calmly and nobly dying,
asked on her last day for champagne
which she had never tasted. She wet her lips,
and in the evening called into her room
someone unseen. 'Who would have thought it,'
she said, very clearly, and crossed the border
for which all others are a preparation.

And Sally Taylor, her mother dying in the next room,
heard women's voices, young and laughing,
come in to fetch the old lady.

Border, boundary, threshold, door --
Orpheus moved either way, the living and the dead
were parted by a thin reflection
he simply walked through. But who can follow?

For all boundaries I have crossed over, flown over,
knowingly, unknowingly, I have no answers;
but sit in the afternoon sun, under mountains
where stale snow clings in shadowy patches,
remember my friend, how he had sung,
hope he is still singing.

Friday, April 07, 2006

We Bring Democracy to the Fish

We bring Democracy to the Fish

It is unacceptable that fish prey on each other.
For their comfort and safety, we will liberate them
into fishfarms with secure, durable boundaries
that exclude predators. Our care will provide
for their liberty, health, happiness, and nutrition.
Of course all creatures need to feel useful.
At maturity, the fish will discover their purpose.

--Donald Hall, from White Apples and the Taste of Stone