Thursday, August 11, 2016

30 Minutes

     A lot can happen in half an hour. It started with a reddened Sun. Going, going, gone. I was in the skid steer, cleaning up the yard where the cows eat their green chop. Somehow I managed to watch another hot summer day slip into evening and still get my work done. All without running into anything! Then, while out in the field spreading the load of manure, I was treated to a fluorescent display as one little wisp of cloud gaudily lite up. I emptied the spreader and enjoyed the sky show, grateful for this surprise gift of beauty at the end of the day. 
     Heading towards done, I was checking the last few things when I noticed the slenderest of crescent moons in the ruddy twilight. I slipped into the house just long enough to grab binoculars. Then it was out past the strawberry patch and the apple trees to a clear view west across the clover field. A quick scan lead me to Venus, very low and just a few minutes away from following the Sun below the horizon. The Moon was just a little higher up and tooth pick thin, but still impressive through the glasses. Then a real "Yes!" moment when I spotted Mercury a little above and to the right of the Moon. I love catching a glimpse of the hot little speedster who never gets too far from the Sun. Always brings a smile.

     By now the sky was deeper blue and it was easy to round up the rest of the gang. Jupiter was due west, just high enough to escape the bright afterglow of the Sun. Mars (orange) and Saturn (golden) were south by southwest and drawing closer together each passing day. 
     Finally I swung from celestial to terrestrial. Mt. McGregor, the Lake George mountains and Equinox were all out there in the fading twilight. These are the landmarks that tell me where I am on the home planet. 
     The evening was starting to feel like a round of speed dating. My final score: the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, all in less than 30 minutes. Doesn't take long to catch up with a bunch of old friends and clean up after some friendly but high maintenance cows. 

Sky and Telescope illustration

Long Bad Day
     Later that evening I spent a few minutes on-line and made the mistake of Goggling "Log Bay Day". I, like perhaps too many others, love the Lake George shoreline down at the end of Shelving Rock Road. Lots of memories here - taking kids for picnic/swims, bringing the X-C team up for some trail running followed by snacks and a swim, the delicious shock of the ice cold lake after sweaty-gritty rock climbing, skinny dipping in the "just right" moonlight. This is our Lake George, forest preserve open to all to freely enjoy. But what does that mean, what responsibilities does it entail? I'm no puritan but this Log Bay thing makes me feel sad and ashamed. Lake George is sacred ground to many of us, not a place to be trashed with drunken orgies, turned into a dump and a sewer. The kids think they're celebrating freedom while they actually appear to be caught in the shackles of the alcohol industry, handed the keys to Daddy's big boat and let off the leash way before they're ready.
     Authorities say they can't do anything. I wonder if it's because some of those at the party are the sons and daughters of the rich, the powerful and the politically connected? Do freedom loving Americans want someone telling them how to enjoy our shared public places? Hell no. Have we abused these places and other people's rights to them? Watch the Log Bay Day videos and decide for yourself. 

The Good - Lake George serene

The Bad - Log Bay Day

 The Ugly - Fuel for disaster

     Thanks for allowing me my rant. I do hope you enjoy the rest of the summer (quietly, safely) including our lovely lakes and the glories of the night sky. Saw a couple of Perseids last night! Lots of fun and no beer required.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Mr. Butler - I found your blog, that I am surprised I never found before, by googling something like "Argyle" "geology." I'm a 61-yr old geologist in southern California, but was "born" (well, actually GFH) and raised in Argyle. I love Washington County even though I live in SoCal. My wife (from Chautauqua Co.) and I were back in Argyle recently for about 5 days at the end of July, visiting my mom. Anyhoo, I enjoy your blog and the eclectic range of topics pertaining to Washington County. Anybody who is as acquainted with the local geology back home as you are has to be "all right." I don't blog or twitter or any of that myself, but I have posted some "local" geology pix to my Flickr page:
    Regardless, I enjoy what you are doing with the blog - great stuff. Hopefully, I'll get to run into you some time when I'm back there, as it isn't very often I get to meet anyone back there who knows anything about the geology and how it fits in to the landscape. Take care, Mike Huggins (michaelhugginsATcoxDOTnet), Irvine, CA (Geosciences: SUNY Adirondack, SUNY Potsdam, and Virginia Tech)