… with no clear vision of where I am going tonight … I do try to be accurate in what I write and thanks to everyone who receives these missives, when I stray I can count on receiving illuminating instruction and am grateful for that. This morning I heard from my friend Rich who spent his entire working career at Lowell Observatory and was a key player in many exciting projects up there. Rich is also a person who ferrets out the history of an area and is a student/teacher of history. Following is what he wrote me about the photo from last night:
Close, but no cigar. That is the Waterline Road. What I know of it comes from Henry Giclas, a local kid who managed to put in a distinguished, 75 year career at Lowell Observatory. Henry’s father had worked on construction of the dome for the big, 40 inch reflecting telescope in 1909 – 10. His other job back then was overseeing Flagstaff’s water supply. They drilled several shallow wells in the Inner Basin of the SF Peaks to tap the Spring snow-melt. The road in the picture is the Waterline Road alongside the pipeline bringing that water to Flag. There are two tunnels along the route and your shot shows both. We all love that fresh, clear city water we get in the spring, but about a decade or so back the city decided to bottle it and sell it instead. The local uproar stopped the project. More recently the Schultz Fire (aftermath is very visible in your shot) damaged that pipeline and it needed considerable repair. I think it is back in service now.
A particular sore point for me is that the maps label that long ridge in the left foreground “Schultz Peak,” and the one above it in the horseshoe of peaks as “Doyle Peak.” This is a map error courtesy of USGS. Doyle is traditionally the west end of the ridge that extends between Fremont and Agassiz, and Schultz is the one the map calls “Doyle.” The ridge in the foreground has no traditional name. This sort of thing happens more often than you might suppose and usually it doesn’t matter much, but here it does. In the late 1920’s Lowell built an observatory enclosure on top of Schultz Peak to investigate the advantages of observing from high altitude. It was the highest observatory in the world until the Swiss built one atop the Jungfrau. There is a body of research based on observations from Schultz Peak, and in fact the structure is still there. One unique feature of the site is that the polar axle of the telescope was supported by a pair of Bristlecone Pines that were cut at the proper angle to align the axle with the Pole. Just try that today!
Lowell is still a player in to the world’s highest non-space observatory. It is SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy), a 2.5 meter telescope peering through a hole in the side of a Boeing 747.”
Thank you Rich! I learn a lot from you. In reply to my request to use his insight, he replied “I re-read it and my nose didn’t seem to grow so sure – use it”
My brother in law, Ace Hagebak, aka Beaumont R. Hagebak, PhD has begun writing a near daily blog of a paragraph or two detailing his life as a retired Professor, College Dean, Public Servant and more living alone in a log cabin in the woods of Northern Georgia. Here is a sample of his writing, it is at once homey and easy with a warmth that puts you at ease :
You know the old joke: “That town was so small that they put the city limits signs on the same pole”. Waleska, Georgia, is just a bit larger than that. It’s the town closest to my log cabin in the woods. I choose to live in or near small towns. Something about the rural lifestyle appeals to me. Maybe it’s the friendliness, the willingness to share, the unlocked doors, the quiet evenings, the wildlife to be seen and enjoyed.
I was once told by a college student from New York City that I was not doing right by my three sons because the town we lived in was small. Exposure to what he called “the real world” was the only way to raise children. Somehow, we all did just fine. Rich, full lives, filled with friends of every description. Life has not always been easy for each of us, but life is never always easy for anyone, whether it’s lived in a small town or a huge city.
Cities have their charms, sure. Activities of all kinds attract us, unbelievable options are available day and night, services of all kinds are right nearby when we need or want them. There’s the freedom that anonymity can bring. But for some of us, rural communities offer so much more. Big lifetime words, like peace and contentment. Nature’s doorstep is our doorstep, too. And there are always people who won’t look the other way when a neighbor needs help. You’re known.
Today our work often defines our locations and our life styles. Young people, in particular, leave their rural homes for employment in large cities. Small towns suffer as farms grow larger and farm people who once patronized local shops are forced to move away. But the special joys of small town living don’t disappear. And our small towns wait for those who love them to return.
If you would like to be added to his list, please send him an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally the photo tonight is taken from my “Observation Deck” and a quiet view of Uptown, part of west Sedona and the Colorado Plateau. With the top portion in the clouds, the SF Peaks are on right horizon just above and to the right of Wilson Mountain in Sedona; going left you can see Sitgreaves and Bill Williams Mountain. It was a beautiful fall day and a treat to be in the air. My last Bon Iver album just finished, so I’ll wrap it too.
I had an interesting meeting with my doc in Flagstaff yesterday and doing a four week holding pattern before doing any treatments for my hip (body parts do have issues when you damage them and/or extend beyond reasonable warranty periods) and I got to thinking; if I do have the hip replaced, and I am able to secure the discarded body part, I could have it cremated and scatter my own ashes :+) About now, I can see Corky rolling her eyes and in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, exclaim “I don’t know why anyone likes you Ted!” Oh well, I am who I am and I like me … and I miss her ever present humor and delight in our life together.
Have a beautiful day, smile and share your joy … as has been the case since humans first inhabited this planet, we need all the joy we can get. Back on Monday … I really do like that idea though :+)
A bird flies through the sky, and I fly with it. I am each pearl of moisture sparkling in the sun.
I lie lazy on the clouds. And I acknowledge my kinship with each winged thing.
I see all as one, and nothing repels me, as this new day climbs noiselessly out of the valley of the night.
Peace lies over the world and over the world of my soul.