Tag Archives: science

Absence and I

Night time again. My bike is the color of forest in the full moon’s light. Pulses of photons waver off into the atmosphere beyond and behind my bicycle. The tires rotate towards me and away all in one continuous motion.  I think of the afternoon explaining away how electrons reveal the microscopic details of a sample much better than light can…how we still require scintillation to interpret all that information.


I am lagging with the heavy heartbeat of the hills. Who rules the trajectory of my journey better than they and my asphyxiating rear tire? The test results came back in the mail, say my blood is just fine perfectly balanced. But still, I can no longer hang on to classes long enough to see them through. I must slow down sometimes. Not even trees stand still, at any moment they are pumping gallons and gallons of water up from the ground cycling organic nutrients through xylem and phloem, inspiring and exhaling, releasing volatile oils, rearranging their roots…

In the forest this morning, I stood with soggy feet as my phone rang with an unfamiliar number. I spoke calmly to a potential employer through the throb of my brain. A short cut that was to be longer than my original path pulled me through standing water. On I went, carrying bicycle over downed tree limbs, cutting paths through false lily of the valley.

Speeding down hill, wind chill. The high definition of the moon bracketed by two clouds like angel wings. The atmospheric shifts push them on. The water mass turns to a skull or half of a heart.

Earlier, I stood staring blankly at a crowded venue unable to recall the words of all the poems I’d etched into my brain. One judge scribbled an image of the grim reaper. Still, somehow, recognition found me. Forgetting everything is not embarrassing if you can pull together the strands. The woman poet I drove home intoned, “Meditation,” as I struggled with the road.

I got certified to play around with my schools Scanning Electron Microscope and Auto-montage scope pretty much anytime they are available. I regret not doing this sooner. But when is there time? Perhaps I will be able to share some pictures with you in the coming weeks if I ever find time and space of mind to take them.


Cleaning Wounds

I was listening to “Broken Chords Can Sing a Little” as I read this little article on radiation clean up in Fukushima. What interests me is the strategy of shoveling earth away and dumping it to remove the threat of radioactive caesium from the environment. I am going to make a little jump here from terrestrial to ocean life just to explain why I find this an odd manner to deal with pollutants. A few months ago, I read a paper on transition metal release in ocean dredging sites. Basically, the idea was that these metals were bound in a relatively innocuous substrate. As the metals were disturbed however, they were released into the ocean and took on biologically active molecular conformations receiving another go at wrecking havoc on the environment.

Cleaning up contaminated sites is important to the health of the occupants of the land in in the long and short run. I acknowledge, benthic and terrestrial environments are naturally quite different, but the only place pinned down as a concern here is the sanding of asphalt, not the shoveling of soil. I want to know if shoveling away the soil and isolating it is really the best way to clean up the environment. What are the next steps in the remediation process? It sounds like the plan is to bury the Caesium contaminated soil out of site to degrade over it’s half life with the trust that time will cure all wounds. What other solutions are out there?