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Monday, March 30, 2015

Sunshine and fresh air made me feel great

Today was my opening day, but I only fished for about an hour because my back was bothering me.  After catching a under-sized largemouth bass, I settled on a bench overlooking the pond and basked in the sun for a good portion of the afternoon.

This evening I feel terrific, and I think it's because of being outdoors so much.  Even in the coldest weather, I spend time outdoors, and we've had some mild days which I took advantage of by working in the yard.  Today, however, was the first day this year I've just sat looking at the pond and enjoying the sun and fresh air.  Windy and a little chilly when the sun went behind a cloud, but not enough to diminish my pleasure.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Getting impatient for things to start growing

The week before last I cut down the old growth of the ornamental grasses and had the lawn mower blade sharpened.  Now, I want the green to begin popping up out of the ground.  Time seems to be going by slowly because of this wait.

Recently, Pam and I discussed whether we truly had four seasons here.  If we do, they sure don't seem to be equal in length.  Summers are always long, and some winters like the past two are also long.  Spring always seems to be short while fall is difficult for me to see objectively because I enjoy it so but dread what follows.  In some ways, there are for me just two seasons because I swap out clothes every spring and fall.  This swapping generally corresponds to the growing and fishing seasons.

I'm tired of heavy coats and am looking forward to tee shirts, shorts, and flip flops.  I want to be laying out on the patio with a cold drink, thinking only about what I'll cook out on the grill.  Come on, let's get on with this changing of the seasons.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Opening Day

Although there is actually no closed season for freshwater trout in Maryland, the state closes many streams and ponds the week they are stocked. Since most of waters surrounding me receive their stocking in late March, the Saturday of that week becomes a de facto opening day.

There were only four or five fishermen at the nearby pond when I took my daily walk this afternoon. With temperatures in the low 30's and a nasty wind, they were dressed more like ice fishermen or duck hunters. When I ventured outside to get the newspaper this morning, there weren't that many more then, as well as I could make out through the trees.

As I walked I pondered why I now choose to wait a few days to fish when it will be more comfortable rather than brave the conditions today. I tell myself it's because in retirement I have the time to be selective, but I suspect it really is because I didn't use to be such a pussy.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

More crocuses

This grouping is from my walk today along Sligo Creek Parkway:

When I turned on Wayne Avenue on way to downtown Silver Spring, I found these along a hillside:

And these:

Friday, March 13, 2015

Can't resist photographing those late Winter flowers

There's still some snow on the ground from the event a week ago.  Everyone's tired of Winter, but these give hope of what's coming.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Visit to a Gothic Cathedral

Since this semester's History of Architecture has been studying Gothic Cathedrals, I've been eager take a new look at the closest example, the National Cathedral in DC.  This morning I drove down and took in the standard 30 minute tour.

As I knew beforehand, the building has been under repairs from damage done by the 5.8 earthquake in 2011, and the construction noise occasionally made it difficult to hear the docent.  Much of what I heard I already knew but not everything.  For example, I hadn't realized that the site was selected because of the relatively high ground.  Although all the examples we've studied in class are in Europe, the Washington Cathedral design follows the standard cross shape with an east-west layout so service goers are praying while facing east, towards Jerusalem. 

I had a chance to look at the standard Gothic features such as pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses and appreciate the beauty of the stained glass and sculptures.  Because of the construction, I took only one picture, that of the stained glass in the Maryland Bay:

Recently I went back to look at my notes from a class a couple of years ago entitled History of Science and Technology because I remembered an excellent lecture on Gothic Cathedrals.  The professor made the point that technology is not neutral but rather is a reflection of the concerns and aspirations of the surrounding culture.  The religious nature of the Middle Ages caused the people to direct their intelligence to building houses of prayer with high interiors to direct attention towards heaven and to include as many windows as possible because light was equated with God.  Since the building material was stone for permanence, the engineering challenges of handling the stress of the weight lead while allowing for windows lead to the solutions we see in the Gothic architectural design.

I'll probably come back when the construction is complete and the weather's warmer.