Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A DANDELION EPIPHANY


This morning I was at my local mechanic’s place, arranging for some work to be done on my vehicle, when the heady scent of spring carried me away for a moment. The garage is right beside a large park full of mature oaks, bordered by blooming crabapples. At the moment I looked, a patch of sunlight was illuminating a spot in the dappled interior with a cluster of silver dandelion heads. Something about the way they stood, their relationship to each and to me from my vantage point, and the way the sun and shadow played around them, showered everything in the park, and me and everything outside the park, with perfection. It was like a sudden answer to a question I believe we are all constantly, endlessly asking without even being aware of it. And then it was gone. I reached into my pocket for my camera, and stepped into the light. You can’t recreate a moment like that, but the dandelions reminded me of one of my favorite objects-an orrery-and it seemed to fit the occasion to take their picture to post here, even though as a snapped the shot, I knew that when I got home and looked at them again, they would just look like ordinary dandelions.


If you want to read more about orreries, here’s part of the article from Wikipedia:

An orrery is a mechanical device that illustrates the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons in the solar system in a heliocentric model. They are typically driven by a large clockwork mechanism with a globe representing the Sun at the centre, and with a planet at the end of each of the arms.


According to Cicero, the Greek philosopher Posidonius constructed an orrery, possibly similar or identical to the Antikythera mechanism, that exhibited the diurnal motions of the sun, moon, and the five known planets. Cicero's account was written in the first century BC.

The Antikythera mechanism may be considered one of the first orreries. It is an ancient mechanical calculator (also described as the first mechanical computer) designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was discovered in an ancient shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythera and Crete, and has been dated to about 150-100 BC. Technological artifacts of similar complexity did not appear until a thousand years later.

The first modern orrery was built circa 1704 by George Graham and Thomas Tompion. Graham gave the first model (or its design) to the celebrated instrument maker John Rowley of London to make a copy for Prince Eugene of Savoy. Rowley was commissioned to make another copy for his patron Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery, from which the device took its name. This model was presented to Charles' son John, later the 5th Earl.


Orrery photo from www.holoscience.com

14 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

This is wonderful post. Relating dandelians to Orrery. Thanks for this.

Annie said...

What a discerning eye you have.

bobbie said...

You are amazing.

Do you think that the ancient Mayan structures, or maybe Stone Henge could be in the same general category? or is that reaching too far?

Indrani said...

How you connect the nature with something so scientific! :)

me ann my camera said...

Fascinating. I didn`t know that i love the way you have included your dandelion sighting to illustrate your insight when you saw them.
Ann

Poetikat said...

I see it! Now I'm off to research orreries.

Kat

Rose said...

I'm too weary to read the wikipedia article, but I sure do understand the feelings you expressed in what you wrote...and it is so hard to capture in a picture. I have a lot of pictures trying to capture moments like that and I have only managed a half job of capturing it a very few times...I don't know if it was the words you wrote, your photo, or maybe both but you sure didn't do too bad of a job with this. And it may have to do with lately I have had two or three instances with the dandelion heads/lighting/perfect moment thing myself.

Shellmo said...

I always learn something interesting when I come here! :-)

P.S. I would've been tempted to blow those dandelion heads off!

SandyCarlson said...

Thanks for increasing my vocabulary and knowledge base. Lovely shot, too.

fourwindshaiga said...

I learned another new word from you today! I am sending you a shot that I took last week. We must be on the same wave length.

Lin said...

interesting shot, love the placement and design elements of your photo of the dandelions.

Sylvia K said...

Fabulous post, Deborah, and the relation between the two is fascinating! Like the others, I always learn something when I visit your blog. You are most definitely an inspiration. And on top of it all, the dandelion photo is gorgeous!

jinksy said...

The dandelions seem to be dancing, one after the other, into the picture - fantastic!

BrightenedBoy said...

This is a fascinating and beautiful post, and the pictures truly are lovely.

It really does make you wonder if there is an underlying pattern to it all, if somehow the entire universe is expressed in a single patch of flowers.