Rain, Emily Dickinson, and Dinosaur Toes - 2006-09-22 08:07:38 We woke to rain this morning in Huntsville, a good thing since we are so very far behind our annual quota. My Japanese maple tree is happy! I planted it in 1992 to celebrate the completion of the Spacelab-J mission. I served as the Training Manager on that one, and got to spend a lot of time in Japan (love that country). Rain, however, is not such a good thing for the Big Spring Jam held here this weekend. It seems the best way to get it to rain in north Alabama is to schedule an outdoor event! Panoply in the spring is an example. That grand art and music show is invariably rained out. The gods do like to play with us.
Linda laughs and says I certainly chose an odd time to start a blog, when there's a lull in our adventures. It's true. September is deliberately a down time so that I could get this pesky surgery done on my foot, the result of battering my left big toe for years and building up a major bone spur at the joint. It's much better now, thank you. I got to wear a sock on the affected foot yesterday! Little things get to mean a lot, sometimes. While sitting in the doc's office waiting for him, I had a lot of time to contemplate a poster of the bones in the human foot. I recognized a lot of them from my dinosaur work. The spade shape on the tip of the phalanges (toes) looks a lot like that of the Hadrosaur and Triceratops. Our ankle bone looks a lot like Mr. Hadrosaur, too. I found one just recently coming out of the Hell Creek mud, all by itself, for no apparent reason. Our metatarsals are longitudinal, however, where some dinos chose to walk around on three toes, thus swinging their metatarsals vertically (and leaving two toes to dangle). Yet, the similarities are all there. When Nature finds a design she likes, she sticks with it, though she may move things around a bit. Why and how she does that is a mystery to contemplate around the camp fire at the dino digs.
Last night, we went up to Burritt Museum on Monte Sano (the big mountain overlooking Huntsville) for a play about Emily Dickinson. I am forever confusing her with Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I really shouldn't. After all, I used EBB's Sonnets from the Portuguese to organize The Keeper's Son. Part I - Guess now who holds thee? Part II - Death, I said. Part III - But, there the silver answer rang. Part IV - Not Death, but Love. And I used ED's "Wild Nights" in The Ambassador's Son as my heroine Felicity contemplates a night in the tropics alongside a young PT boat skipper with the initials JFK. Anyway, the play was very well done and we enjoyed it thoroughly.
We are being social gadflies, for some reason during this time of convalescence. Tonight, we have dinner with Don and Dorothy Howard. Don's one of the top caricaturists in the world and lives here in good old Huntsville. Go here to see his work concerning an interesting trio of amateur paleontologists: http://www.howardstudiosltd.com/images/WebImgs/Dino.gif.
Anousheh Ansari is at the Space Station. She seems happy and well she should! Yes, I am jealous but one can't do everything in life one wants to do. Wait a minute, that's not right! Of course, one should.
OK, that's enough. Got to get to work on The Red Helmet.