Saturday, October 31, 2009


With feet on the ground, looking around, and then a head tilt high towards endless sky, wild west Texas re-shapes spatial concepts. Where am I? What is all this? And what the hell is that out there? The Out There, and the thoughts and feelings that reciprocate between the unknowing mind and that of Mother Milky Way's.... On the edge of nothing except a suspended child-like wonder bliss veiled beneath an earth arch halo of galaxy particle mist stretching across infinite horizons that remind us how we're all caught in between, somehow loosely glued to this globe - gravity still a mystery. But we exist. And we earthlings have done much to explore those questions of what lies beyond - in part, as a way of explaining how we happen to reside on this planet we call home.

On far away hilltops within the Davis Mountains, the McDonald Observatory sits quietly, watching the night skies, tracking wobbly white dwarfs, mapping the expanding universe and probing for more clues to feed the data-intense research that helps fortify theories intended to unlock some of those mysteries. Observatories, like quiet sanctuaries, are special, and in their own way, personally sacred. A most remote location away from light pollution and home to critically crystal clear climate are the rare requisites. The domed structures themselves, admired for how they stand patient, with inquisitive poise, in somber silence, but perched perfectly content on peak pinnacles. A humble protrusion that houses incredible telescopic equipment and other tools of the trade, all acutely maintained by technicians so that the student-scientist-astronomer can continue their precision-based investigations. With the stars above, it seems to stand as a temple of science, a symbolic encapsulation of nature, mankind, and the pursuit to understand our universe and existence within it.

So yes indeed, Texas is big: big land, big sky, big space. There is little doubt that these environmental elements have greatly influenced such a proud but courteous culture that knows a thing or two about space, especially the kind of space we're most familiar with. I can say that the best drivers thus far have been right here in Texas, big trucks and all. I define "best" from the perspective of a guy riding a bike, which most often means the way we share space. I doubt that most of these motorists are familiar with the aerodynamics and turbulence that is felt on a bike from close, fast passing vehicles, but I believe that it is somehow related to the Texan recognition of space and their healthy respect of it in proper proportions.

Sharing the Road


  1. Here is a good article about space...

  2. Turned upside down again it seems? Tonight, Matt and I cut apple slices for the dehydrator and talked of good ol' Newton and the rock climber's perpetual tug love with such gravity; through the never-ending struggle is discovered the raison d'etre...