Science is a Journey

All scientific inquiry begins with a question. How is this possible? Why is that planet behaving that way? How old is that thing? What is that made of? How do we catch the flu? Once you have a question, you can set about determining an answer. That’s science, and in my opinion, it’s a thing of beauty.

What frustrates me most about people who disparage science is that they tend to say, “Well, science used to believe this. But now we know that’s wrong.”

Uh… YEAH. That’s the whole point. You add to science as you increase knowledge and extend your inquiries. Surprise! Blood letting isn’t the best idea for the feverish! The earth isn’t flat after all!

Science, by its very nature, is not rigid and set in stone. It’s a journey, not a destination. It grows. It (dare I say it?) evolves.

The reason science and religion seem at odds with each other, in my opinion, is that religion doesn’t want you to question. It wants you to believe without question. It doesn’t want you to change, other than to get with the program. It says, “These are the rules. Stick to them.” It believes that the way we thought 2,000 years ago is the way we should think now.

Science is messy. It says, “Hold on… what about this?” It’s ever-changing. It’s fluid. That’s a scary concept for some, but I firmly believe that learning and growth make us better people.

This may surprise you, but I genuinely believe that science and religion don’t have to be mutually exclusive. There are questions that will never be answered in our lifetime. If religion helps you with the great unanswered, then more power to you. And if you believe in God, surely you must believe that he or she gave us curious brains so that we could use them.

I am so grateful for both the gifts of intelligence and morality. I will never squander those gifts. (Not that morality is exclusive to religion, mind you. But sometimes it is nice to have a guidebook, even if we don’t always consult it.)

I am very excited by the prospect of knowing more tomorrow than I do today. I look forward to applying that knowledge in a way that benefits mankind. Life is good!

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Drabble

I learned a new word recently. Drabble. According to wikipedia, “A drabble is a short work of fiction of around one hundred words in length. The purpose of the drabble is brevity, testing the author’s ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in a confined space.”

To this I say, challenge accepted! And I soon discovered that once I started to drabble, I couldn’t stop. (Yes, I’m officially turning this word into a verb.) I like it so much, this may become a regular thing in my blog.

So, without further ado, here are my first 4 drabbles. Feel free to drabble in the comments section! (Or just comment. That works, too.)

On the Brink

I stand at the edge of the cliff, taking in the view. It’s comforting to feeI small by comparison. Nature, man. Who can top it? It embraces me, cradles me in its loving arms. I’m a tiny part of a much larger whole.

Awe is such a heady feeling. Just breathing it in. Just being. I’m renewed.

How can people look upon this beauty and still jump? How profound does your level of despair have to be before the tears in your eyes make you blind to this miracle, this splendor? Maybe, just maybe, some people think they can fly.

 

Cheese

I truly believe that there are few things in life that aren’t greatly improved by extra cheese. I could guzzle a cup of melted cheese, tilt my head back and pour it down my throat, with no regrets except for the lack of free refills. It couldn’t be less healthy than a slurpee or a shake, and it would be infinitely more satisfying. But I’ve always been more savory than sweet.

There’s nothing like looking forward to mozzarella after a particularly hard day. Who needs drugs or alcohol? Give me cheddar or feta, and all my cares slip away.

 

Pathetic

“You’re so loved it’s pathetic,” he said. And deep down, I knew he was right. I have amazing family and friends. They lift me up. They carry me forward. They bear witness. They buffer me from life’s tempests.

As isolated as I often am, I’m never truly alone. Knowing that sustains me. It makes all this possible. All this abundance. All this beauty. I’m really rich in the only ways that matter. Life is such a gift when it’s filled with the lives of others.

“You’re so loved it’s pathetic,” he said.

And yet he still left me.

Dumb ass.

 

Going Home

It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. At least that’s the current wisdom. And I tend to agree. Usually.

But not when I’m trapped in an airport on Thanksgiving day, imagining the turkey getting cold and gossip getting hot. Not when I’m paying too much at Starbucks when I’d much rather have my sister’s apple pie. Not when they’ve lost my luggage and my rental car reservation and I feel my throat getting sore, and there’s no wifi and my book isn’t in my carry on.

I’m grumpy and tired. Screw the journey. I just want to go home, please.

autocorrect

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The Journey

It’s not the destination, it’s the journey, they say. I sometimes have a hard time remembering that. As a general rule, I hate the “travel” part of travel.

I particularly miss flying in the ’80’s, when you could saunter onto your plane at the last minute, with your Crocodile Dundee-sized Bowie knife and nail clippers on full display, settle into a seat with plenty of leg room, most likely having the entire row of seats to yourself, and expect something other than a single pretzel to eat. These days, I just want to get there, preferably with all my luggage, and let the adventure begin.

On my most recent trip, to Utah, a lot of irritating things happened during the journey. I booked a ziplining tour, something that has been on my bucket list for decades, and I was really looking forward to it. I went to Sundance Mountain Resort and wandered about, feeling like a country mouse as I often do in rich places. I had time to kill, so I bought an outrageously overpriced but delicious meal and ate while reading a book.

I got to the ziplining office at the designated time, all excited, only to be told that it was cancelled due to high winds. They had been trying to contact me for hours. (Why does everyone assume you’ve got a smart phone with e-mail access? Pick up the phone!!!)

Terribly disappointed, I headed to my shabby little motel room in Provo, Utah. (I did stop to see Bridal Veil Falls on the way, which was pretty awesome, but took all of 5 minutes.) I wouldn’t have been stopping in Provo at all were it not for the ziplining. If there’s anything entertaining to do in that town, I certainly didn’t find it.

So I sat in my threadbare accommodations, listening to the really loud construction next door, until 9 pm, when they quit for the day and I was finally allowed to get to sleep. (But to do that I had to turn the fridge off to stop it’s squealing. When the fridge finally thawed at midnight, the sound of the falling ice scared the life out of me.)

Back to sleep. That is, until the police raid in the motel room directly beneath mine at 1 a.m. Lots of shouting and door pounding. That was fun. Not.

So was the car alarm that went off at 3 a.m. and didn’t stop until the battery died. I was beginning to think someone was sticking pins in a little Barb voodoo doll or something.

But, as my previous posts about this trip will attest, the rest of the trip was amazing. And even when you’re having a bad time in Utah, you have fantastic views as a backdrop. So here are some random photos I took during the journey.

 

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Road Tripping

I just got back from a trip to Vancouver. I’ll be writing quite a bit about that, I’m sure. But right now I’m writing about road trips in general.

I absolutely love to travel. It’s my reason for being. Seeing things I’ve never seen and doing things I’ve never done just seems to feed my spirit in a way that nothing else can. Just having an adventure to look forward to brightens my mood.

I love to read up on my destination and make plans and compile packing lists. I love to pore over maps and dive headlong into guidebooks. I’d hate to go to someplace unprepared, only to find out upon returning home that there was something amazing there that I had missed. The buildup to a vacation is almost as interesting as the trip itself.

And then you have the actual trip. The driving there. The worrying that your luggage will be lost, or you’ll leave something behind, or you’ll take a wrong turn, or maybe that you won’t understand the rules of the road in another country. It’s the anxiety of reservations misplaced, tickets lost, identification overly scrutinized. It’s agonizing to worry about being late or missing a connection. I hate to think of all my plans falling to ruin. I hate the travel part of travel.

I probably miss out on a lot of the beauty that is in the in-between places due to all that anxiety. It has been forever thus with me. There’s just too much to contemplate about the destination to focus on the journey. I really need to work on that.

Ah, but when I get there? Pure bliss. Let the adventure begin!

[Image credit: pinterest.com]
[Image credit: pinterest.com]

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When you are young, people ask you that question all the time. Unfortunately that gives you the impression that someday you will actually know the answer. Poppycock. Most of us never do. That’s the great secret that no one tells you.

Maybe that’s best, because how can you face the world if you realize that you’ll never reach your goal because you haven’t a clue what that goal is? I envy those who find a calling and successfully pursue it. But they are the exceptions.

As a child, my stock response to that question was always, “I want to be a teacher, because then I can yell at all the kids.” That always got a laugh. I like making people laugh. I never really wanted to be a teacher. I don’t even like children. Good thing I had the sense to never have any.

While it’s good to make plans and work toward something, the fact is that most of us kind of stumble into our lives by accident. The question I like to ask adults is, “Did you ever think that this is what you would be when you grew up?” I’ve never had anyone answer that in the affirmative. Not even once.

So perhaps the road to happiness isn’t pursuing your dreams but rather learning to find joy in the present moment. Don’t focus on the destination, but rather revel in the journey. That way your dreams will come true every second of every day.

I-Dont-Want-To-Grow-Up

[Image credit: iwantcovers.com]

My Love/Hate Relationship with GPS Girl

She lead me across the country and she helps me find my way around this new befuddling city of mine, so I’m really extremely dependent upon the voice that comes out of my GPS. I’m truly grateful for all she does for me. But there are also times when I want to slap her silly.

She has a cruel sense of humor. I think she knows I’m mildly dyslexic. She loves to say, “Turn left” when her map is clearly indicating that I need to turn right. I have learned the hard way that when that happens, you must ignore her voice and follow her arrows.

She has also led me to open fields and insisted there were roads where no roads have ever been. Once she led me to the edge of a cliff. GPS Girl is not to be entirely trusted. But she knows she’s all I have. I’m also weirdly connected to her because she was a gift from my late boyfriend.

Yesterday GPS Girl and I were deep into the hate portion of our love/hate relationship. I was trying to get to a building downtown where they were giving city employees free flu shots. Oh, she got me there all right. But how do you explain to her that the parking in downtown Seattle absolutely SUCKS? Getting me to the front door isn’t good enough. I then have to find a place to dump my car. That’s not her fault, technically speaking.

But as I drove around and around and around, hearing her smug tone as she said, “recalculating” was setting my teeth on edge. And then at one point I turned into a tunnel under a building, assuming it was a parking garage, and it turned out to be an on ramp for the interstate. Who builds a skyscraper over the top of an on ramp, for crying out loud? And since I was in a tunnel, GPS Girl went silent. She hates tunnels. I didn’t know where the hell I was until I was across the canal and miles away from my flu shot. When she woke up again, she tried sending me the wrong way down several one way streets, and up off ramps. I was beginning to think that she was seriously effing with me.

I had no choice but to ignore her instructions. She started to sound increasingly irritated. “Turn around when possible.” Why? So I could go back to the wrong way street? We were at an impasse. So GPS Girl pulled out the ultimate trump card; something I had never seen her do before. “There is no route to your destination.” In other words, you can’t get there from here. You’re on your own, Choochie.

So I did the only thing one can do when one has seriously pissed off one’s partner. I aimlessly drove around in circles, keeping quiet, until GPS Girl had a chance to calm down and reconsider her actions. Finally she told me how to get back downtown.

It was probably my imagination, but she sounded a little sheepish. Apology accepted. For now.

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