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.
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.