June 17, 2008

What lies at the heart of me

If you would have asked me to describe myself about a month ago, I would have said I'm a lamworker at heart. But I just spent 10 fun days with two of my very close friends from college. And I have to recap that by saying, I am a SCIENTIST by heart! And a lampworker second.

First, let me say that lampworking is a fascinating hobby and profession. I say hobby first because it is so much fun. Glass is an unbelievable medium to work with. You can paint with it and sculpt with it. You can hold the glass directly into the flame and as it melts you can see how amazing it really is. I thought I'd never be able to control it, and if I could control it, it would be difficult at best. Not so. And because of these amazing properties, it falls into the area of science. Because, believe it or not, there's more science going on then you may have guessed.

Now, back to the Scientist at heart....

I spent 10 days in New Mexico. What an incredibly awesome geologic wonder! So different from the green green grasses and trees of Northern Wisconsin. We climbed cliffs in Bandelier where Native Americans once dwelled in caves carved into the side of moutains. The wonderous part was that both mother nature and the inhabitants carved out the dwellings!! You gotta love limestone and sandstone.

We descended 750 feet below the earth's surface to see the wonders of Carlsbad Caverns. How amazing to see what mother nature can do underground. And even more amazing to see what water can do to stone.

We walked across an ancient lava flow that covered hundreds of miles of the earth's surface. And we also saw how mother nature was taking that over with trees and plants. Someday that huge black expanse will be gone, completely covered in lush green vegitation.

I learned how plants have evolved and adapted to capture the smallest drops of water, drops that are so important for their survival. And as I stood in the heat, I asked why we were at the White Sands Desert. Then I looked around and discovered hints and whispers of the abundant life that thrives in those hot and arid places by coming out during the cool hours of the night. Simply amazing! There was evidence of life everywhere!! Bugs, lizards, birds, coyotes and more.

And so, I have to say with all my being, that I am a scientist at heart. This planet is amazing, and it's ever changing. What once was lush tropical land is now dry desert. Mountains crumble into foothills. Lakes turn into fields, and water carves out new routes as it moves towards the oceans. Continents move across the face of the earth. And it's is ever changing.

It really is an amazing planet. Too bad we're devouring it's resources faster then it can replenish them.

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