First Logwatch

Tonight hailed the first subfreezing temperatures of the season, so I thought it would be a cool activity to, once I picked up the girls and got them home, build a fire in the fireplace. They were highly excited about this, and it went swimmingly.

My fireplace a regular wood-burning one. This sounds odd to say, being that it is a fireplace after all, but these days with all the options of gas-log, electric, and any number of flat- and faux- options, it seems that one should always specify.

Opening the flue, I half-expected the remains of an empty bird’s nest or something to fall into the fireplace, but instead got to get right down to the business of building the stack and lighting it up.

I also lit a series of candles along the front of the hearth, and after doing so, gave a simplified overview of both the basic workings of a fireplace (or, “why the hot comes into the room, and the smoke goes out of the chimney”), and another big idea I suppose should be titled, “Fire and fuel”. I think that the primary concepts seated rather well with them, and even if they don’t fully grasp it, they will be good primers for discussions later on when they are ready.

After dinner and some reading by the firelight, we checked homework, and after they were off to bed, I sat petting the dog as she inched her way away from the fireplace, and watching the flames lick flutteringly at the final log, thought over the “fire and fuel” discussion. I’d made a point of mentioning that ‘the flame, once started, needs two things to survive: fuel and air’. The candles bore a highly convenient witness. The flames in the fireplace were consuming oxygen and the logs. The candles were consuming oxygen and the wax (which at that time had gone completely liquid). The big idea was a discussion to remember when it comes up in a science class in the future. But knowing what the flame needs, it was also about safety, about how to put out a fire (take away either one or both of its needs), and also about life and the balance of needs. As the end of Fall impends and the beginning of winter rolls in, it turned into a very useful, seasonal dissertation.

I really did mean Fall. Not Autumn.

I bet some of you geeks saw the title of this one, and thought I was going to talk shop about some Apache logs, didn’t you? Speaking of looking at flatpanel displays for hours, remember to go outside and catch some afternoon sun while it’s still around, that way you will be less likely to be SAD.

synopsis: Pasaquan

The path to Pasaquan was, like most worthwhile journeys, elusive and tenuous. As we left the metro Atlanta area heading south, there was a severe backup of our primary route. There were signs warning of construction happening, but the backup of the freeway suggested that there was also a major accident going on. We were moving along at a glacier-like clip for quite a while, and when we got to the next possible exit, made the detour, and abandoned the carefully picked directions scribbled down the back of an envelope. Turning to the “Georgia” page of the road atlas, we quickly located a full detour route that went though several small towns, all of whom were having a Fall festival of one sort or another, like Barnesville, Thomaston, Talbotton, and Geneva. We also stumbled onto…. The Rock.

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That’s got to be one of the cooler names for a town ever…. The Rock, GA. There was immediate rush of “the rock” quotes, including “Can you smell what The Rock is cookin’?” and “Can’t stop The Rock!”, followed by a stream of references to rock music, Alcatraz island, and various action movies.

It took quite a bit longer to get to Pasaquan than anticipated. Once we arrived, we found that the journey was well worth it. Not only did we get to explore all of pasaquan, but there was also live music, and other folk and local artists displaying pieces as well. I got some really good pictures, shared above.

Walking around Pasaquan, Eddie Martin’s philosophy (a blending of Eastern and western thought combined with a healthy dose of both Shamanism) pervaded. Any place on the whole complex that you would look was enhanced by design: paint, hammered tin, beads, felt, carvings, statuettes… The images of people, gods, suns and moons, planetary systems, cities, flowers, and more. The magnitude of all the thought and effort instantly draws you in. The connection between human mind and nature, between ancient thought and modern thought, and between the beliefs of civilizatons all around the world seem to be fragmented in our daily lives, but at Pasaquan, one can see them all come together in jigsaw fashion, in balance, in Zen.

Yesterday was the last day of the year for Pasaquan to be open to the public until the spring. We’re already planning a return road trip. With three possible routes scribbled on sticky notes, fluttering in the wind.