Morning Walk (Lake Monroe)

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The Lake Monroe Reservoir offers many spots for morning walks and an opportunity for minimalist pictures.

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There are only two sources of color here: The ground,

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and human relics.

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Gravity seems to be particularly strong here, and time runs more slowly than usual.

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Teotihuacan (25 Years Ago)

The first three days of my Winter Break excursion to Mexico in 1993 I spent in Mexico City, and one of them in Teotihuacan.

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By bus it takes about an hour to get there. I should have arrived much earlier, to beat the crowds and have better light. One of the most fascinating aspects of this place is how little we know about it.

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It had been abandoned by about 700 CE, reaching a population well over 100,000 before. The reasons? We don’t know. Who lived there? We don’t know. Of course there are speculations and theories. 

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What fascinates me is the discrepancy between the longevity of what’s preserved and the fragility of what is gone. Did they care what would survive? If we knew we’d be gone in a century, would we care to leave something behind?

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Would it be art, pomp, or an attempt of a message?

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Perhaps it should just be a vision: This is how we liked it to be. This was us. 

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Laura Hare Nature Preserve at Downey Hill

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The long title of this post names one of the many places I have missed so far that are in 1 hour driving distance from Bloomington. If you are after spectacular rock formations or water falls, this isn’t the place. But it features a 4.5 mile loop through Southern Indiana landscape at its best. Sinkholes …

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… miniature canyons …

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… creeks …

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… and the trees, of course. All this makes up the landscape in the large, accented by the play of light or the lack of it. Then there are the small things: Leaves clinging on,

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moss providing unexpected greenery,

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hopeful trees sprouting,

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and older trees offering vistas in the past.

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This was a most enjoyable hike.

North Dome (25 Years Ago)

I have written about Yosemite in winter before, using a mixture of pictures from various trips. The first picture on that page is actually the last one I took on a snow showing overnighter to North Dome. In the summer, this is an overcrowded day hike up from along Yosemite Falls with nice views of Half Dome.Berkeley148b

We not only had plenty of snow but also a thunderstorm over night. You won’t get these clouds in the summer.

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As soon as you are out of the valley, the hike is a pleasant up and down, even with snow shoes.

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I think the little hump down below is North Dome. The tracks are ours – there was nobody else.

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I am ready for winter, obviously.

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Two Weeks

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Two weeks can be a long time.

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After a few cold days and an ice storm, the colorful leaves are gone now and the mood changes towards winter.

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What do we prefer: A temporary feast of color, or a clear view into a bleak future?

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The choice is not easy,

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mainly because it will stay like this now for at least four months.

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The Vortex

Here are some pictures from a recent visit to Shades State Park.

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It was amusing to see little oblivious flowers on a dead, moss covered tree trunk. What is the  spider hoping for?

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More typical are the vortex-like canyons that seem to suck you into whatever future there is.

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Helpful stairways only lead downwards.

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Water is still flowing the wrong way.

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The trees remind that we can sometimes point sideways instead of  up.

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Decay

My physics high school teacher’s favorite example for exponential decay was not the textbook one, but rather the decay of foam bubbles in a glass of beer.

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These were good times. Chernobyl was still many years away, and one could happily replace cold war fears of a global nuclear disaster by that of an indecent amount of foam in a beer.

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Not so anymore. Dangerous alcohol has been replaced by even more dangerous drugs, and the surprisingly capable and reasonable politicians by maniacs. Why? How?

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This year I am teaching probability, and have replaced some of the rather morbid text book exercises by ones containing bubble baths, to protect my students from being traumatized by reality. What is the half-life of moral standards?

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The large amount of foam on our pristine creeks are called surfactants, and can have natural or human causes.

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Making that distinction is quite telling.