Sunday, August 8, 2010

Looking closer to home

Way back in grade eight, each of us in my science class was to make a poster depicting interesting aspects of a planet or moon in the solar system (this was before Pluto was demoted from full planet status and the category of dwarf planets was added). The project was right up my alley, so I spent a fair amount of time thinking about which planet I should choose. In the end I chose earth, what could be more interesting than our home?

Other planets have their fascinating aspects: how exotic are clouds of sulfuric acid? Or the possibility of a planetary ocean beneath a thick layer of permanent ice? Fascinating for sure, but everywhere I look on this world we live on I see something spectacular (albeit not aways on a huge scale) and I can often interact with it directly.

I have witnessed sea ice extending to the horizon in every direction in the arctic, the folded rock that juts up as the Rocky Mountains and, a volcano that spewed into the sky glowing boulders the size of cars that broke apart as they tumbled down the mountain side in Costa Rica. Often, little things are just as captivating. Such as changing patterns in the surface of a stream as the water makes it way around rocks or the hum of bees harvesting the pollen from my bachelor buttons. I could go on. There is no shortage of fascinating things that I've read about, seen in pictures or don't even know about yet. I don't there are fascinating things at all scales on the other planets – and if they are looking for volunteers to go look, sign me up! Until then, I'll stick to the world around me.

The day our posters went up, I realized I was the only one who choose earth. Unfortunately, my eight grade science teacher didn't think Earth was exotic enough, so I did poorly on the assignment. I have to admit he didn't influence me much and don't even remember his name – the only other project that we did that I can remember was dissecting a sheep's eye. I just continued to go outside and explore the world around me.

The bee in the photo is from my backyard

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