Category: Real or Folk Tale?

The Well of Time Series

Covid has delayed production of Totem for a year, which is fine, because during these months of isolation and home-bound-ness I have returned to a feeble hobby I enjoyed greatly decades ago, drawing sketches. This year, too, has been a chance to get back into the mountains for hiking, but these days I am slower, and tend to spend fewer hours a day under a pack, walking, leaving time to stop, observe, and draw whatever I see along the way. It used to be, for years, the definition of a decent hike was how blown you were at the end, how damaged, how great the pain, but age, while not removing the pain, has at least allowed enough small wisdom to be a little more conservative. Your scribe was never the brightest bulb in the room. So, hence, I have taken to drawing along the way, with pencil, or ink, small 5 inch square heavy paper sheets, easy to store in a back pack. The drawings are feeble, primitive, and reveal an unsettling mind, but they have been fun. My wife suggested, when I came back from one such hike last spring, perhaps I could draw a story with these panels, share it with our small tribe of grandchildren and nieces and nephews, or grand-nieces and nephews. This seemed like a fine idea, and so I did so, with the idea I could have a Zoom meeting with the widely scattered wee ones and tell the story in real time over the screen. Then, to increase their anticipation, my wife suggested that maybe I could send a story panel, once completed and copied, to each of the kids so when they watched the story then could also be holding part of it in their hands, waiting then to see where it fell in the tale.

This I did. It was (and is) a lot of work, hours, but great fun. I took heavy watercolor paper and cut it to fit in business sized envelopes, then drew the panels and mailed them to the kids after photographing them on my phone, cropping them, and then storing them on my computer such that I could prepare a PowerPoint slide show, but a slide show of drawings, pictures, which I then can run through, live, on Zoom, telling the tale picture by picture. The first time we did the Zoom event I hadn’t even finished the first story, but it was a way to tell the kids and their parents, my own kids and cousins, what to expect, and to get them ready for the pictures appearing in their mailbox. It is also possible to record these Zoom events, which means, I can then take the recorded tale and get it up on You Tube and send that, too, to each wee one, such that they have the story to watch again if they wish, at their pace and speed, but also available for those kids who may be unable to make the Zoom meeting.

Years and years ago when my own kids were little, at Christmas I would buy a lot of cheap – I mean, CHEAP – little plastic figurines of animals and dinosaurs and monsters and wrap them, one apiece, to the kids who would be present, usually three or four kids and their cousins, and with each tiny present was a card upon which I wrote a 3×5 chapter of a tale, one by one, such that as the other presents were opened a story was being told to all the kids, involving them. This was something that was a much bigger success than I expected. Then, a bit later, I began telling stories to my son Jack to put him to bed, when he was very little, in a crib, still, and these stories were about a young lad named Roland and him finding a hollow in a tree which was a Well of Time, a way to go into the past. I told him many such stories,all of which he has forgotten, which is probably good because I believe I was inhaling back then.

Now, fast forward 35-45 years, and it is another generation of wee ones, everything on flat screens, everything provided, and due to this pandemic everyone desperate for new material. These new stories, drawn on paper, copied, then shown via Zoom and Powerpoint while narrating the tale, have been much liked by the wee ones, whose minds are perhaps s twisted as my own.

Then, in November, one of the kids, the oldest one, actually, Ollie, sends me a drawing he has made and says, maybe you can put this in your next story, and this seemed like a fine idea, so I solicited drawings from all the other kids, whatever they wished, and then drew a story which included their characters and drawings, too. This was even more work, but great fun, great fun.

So it seems that just as I have finished one series, the Strong Heart Series, three books about the Pacific Northwest, ancient history, an ornery young girl and her companions, I have now embarked on another: The Well of Time series. This blog post here was started years ago simply as a great place to store the stuff I enjoyed and had fun with, and if someone gets into it and enjoys it, fine. Now the Well of Time tales, those done so far, are on this blog too, on the right hand side, available to anyone who wants to watch them.

When I finished Totem I knew I had completed the first series, in three tales. I suspect the Well of Time tales might carry on a bit longer. I would say, as far as the pandemic goes, there could have been many worse ways to pass the time.

Discoveries

I think we lose sight of how much we have learned in the last 30 years about our solar system.  There is a science fiction film, Europa, which is pretty telling, about one of Jupiter’s moons, and here is a video about one of Saturn’s moons, same theses – that beneath the frozen ice surface lies a salty ocean of liquid water….

Space

I am deep into structuring and framing another tale, gathering information, imagining story lines, meeting characters, absorbing what I can about existing and emerging debates and conflicts as politicians, scientists, and the rest of us argue on about what is truth, what is belief, what is known, what is “settled.” To me a continuing source of wonder, delight, fascination and joy is the constant puncturing of our self-satisfied views that we know nearly all of what needs to be known.  Any new approach to a theory, whether it be the flat-ness of the earth, the existence of the ice ages, or the structure of the cosmos itself, is always – ALWAYS – met with scorn, disbelief, dismissal, and some times violent death. I earlier posted short pieces about possible discoveries of vast sources of water deep in the earth , which contradict settled science. Just the other day Chuck Todd went on a rant on TV about how climate change is settled science and opponents to the belief should not be given air time.

There seems to be a new debate in the scientific community, rising from theories propounded within the last 70 years, and now gaining strength from the incredible finds of our space telescopes and deep space probes, about the basic structure of the universe itself, arguing that the primary force linking our cosmos is electricity, not gravity.  I am going to post some videos about this, narrated by Don Scott, a retired professor from the University of Massachusetts, my home town and the place where I went to graduate school. It thrills me to see someone from that not so little land grant college now discussing grand theories.

We forget how recently it was we extended our eyes and selves beyond earth. On the first day of 2019, this year, for example, there was the Ultima Thule fly-by, four billion miles from earth, a billion miles beyond Pluto, sending back photos. The Hubble space telescope has been in orbit now since 1990, nearly 30 years, more than a full generation, and in that time we have learned countless things about distant star systems and galaxies When I was a child, and young man, even middle aged, we had none of this information. We had no capacity to gather this information. This will date me, but I recall when I was in about the sixth grade in the 1950s we all gathered in the junior high auditorium to watch (on a 17 inch black and white TV, which we could hardly see of course) the launching of America’s answer to the shocking Soviet Sputnik launch. The Russians astonished us by getting into space before we did, and of course we raced to respond. Russia had launched two sputniks by the time we responded, and the teachers gathered all of us, the sixth grade wandering over to the junior high and joining the seventh and eighth graders, in the auditorium to watch, LIVE, on that tiny TV, as America blasted off to meet the Russian threat. We were excited, this was a total departure from normal school, giddy with excitement, why, we were even getting to watch TV in school! It was to be a signature moment, being present for America’s response, and we all sat there squirming with anticipation, all the teachers behind us, also giddy, watching this history making event.

Then the rocket exploded on the launch pad. I even found a video showing that explosion, posted below (scroll down for the video). In a way, that moment was our collective loss of innocence, a humbling moment indeed. Of course just over 10 years later we landed on the moon (though there is a really big community who refuse to believe this) which was a great demonstration of what this country could do when it put its mind to it, and is what some are saying we should do again now with a Green infrastructure program, and maybe we will.  I can remember that moment today just as if it happened this morning, watching that rocket explode, hearing in the voice of Walter Cronkite (I think this is where he cut his chops as America’s space broadcaster) disbelief and amazement. It was a national humiliation but of course we refused to admit it.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mg7j4q/watch-the-spectacular-inferno-of-americas-first-satellite-attempt

 

 

Evidence of ancient people in British Columbia…

In my tales Strong Heart and Adrift I offer that the ancient legends of First Peoples might be true – that they have always been here, always, since humans first became “modern” ages ago, despite the ice.  Check out this article in Digital Journal:

http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/science/heiltsuk-village-site-on-bc-s-triquet-island-is-14-000-years-old/article/489190

We think we know so much, but actually…..

Two articles here, demonstrating that we think we now so much more than perhaps we do. The first discusses the recent discovery of a second type of DNA, just found, quite different from the “standard” DNA first found in the middle of the 20th Century. The second article discusses how an entirely new organ has been found in our body – this after how many centuries of robbing graves and dissecting cadavers?

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/04/23/the-moral-mask/

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/03/interstitium-fluid-cells-organ-found-cancer-spd/

The Ocean Current Dilemma

This article from Nature, which is really a plea to maintain and increase funding for ocean current research (and in my view a worthwhile plea to make), touches on an interesting dilemma. One impact of rising temperatures, at least in the northern hemisphere, is the dumping of enormous amounts of icy meltwater into the Atlantic from the Arctic and Greenland. This water sinks to the deep ocean, but if enough pours into the Atlantic it can push aside the warm Gulf Stream, push it south, weaken its flow.  This, in turn, means that Europe is not warmed, and this in turn means that snow doesn’t melt, forming the basis for the growth of ice sheets. And, whether the weakening of the Gulf Stream flow started at the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850 when the earth warmed, as one model suggests, or started in the mid 1900s due to human impacts, as another model suggests,  the outcome is the same – a future of cold, not warmth. And, it seems, a future that might fall upon us very rapidly, once it happens.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-04322-x?sf186776719=1