Capturing Beauty and Having Fun

Photo by Philippe Donn on

The world is a beautiful place–on balance much more beautiful than we should expect, since as a rule, natural beauty has no advantage in it. The Alps don’t gain by their beauty, neither do the Azores or the Milky Way. And we don’t gain by finding them beautiful either.

Some might argue that certain kinds of of biological beauty confer a fitness advantage, but even that is problematic. For more, see Beauty Will Lead Us Home.

In this blog, I try to capture beauty in as many ways as I can. I have posts about science, posts with original poetry, and posts with some original music, all in the hope that they will strike a chord for some.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on

Then there is this….I have never written fiction before, though I have written lots of essays and some poetry, plus professional research articles. But I have always wanted to try. So I am going to jump out of the airplane–and see where the story takes me. The difference is, this will be a kind of performance art, because I will be improvising the story in front of you, my audience. I have three episodes so far. When I began I had no plot, no script, no mental sketch as I sat down to write. No idea where the story would go or what it would be about. No parachute. My husband says, you don’t do that unless the plane is on the ground. So maybe I have a small parachute.

I follow the same rules for each episode. I may have a vague idea of where I want to go, but there is always a turn that is unexpected, even to me.

I am having fun, but this is early days yet. I haven’t written myself into a corner or created a ridiculous contradiction or worse, grown predictable and boring.

Tune in periodically to catch up on episodes. Let me know what you think in the comments. I will list the episodes and their permalinks here so you can find them. Wish me luck!

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Comes a King

originally written in 2017

What star is this, shines clear and bright?
Why come these shepherds in dark of night?
From stable there shines a heavenly light—
My heart it trembles at such a sight. 
A glorious King has come here to be born,
A wonder of wonders on this Christmas morn.
The baby lies in a manger bare
Joseph and Mary attend him there
The shepherds kneel in wonder and awe 
The infant King born in a stall
Come to take away our sin,
Born that we might be born again
His star in the east the prophets foretold
And wise men bringing wealth untold--  
Frankincense a priest’s offering,
Myrrh for burial, gold for a king.
This King a priest born to suffer and die
Then rise again, glorified.
The only wise God asleep on the hay
Is Wonder Counselor born this day
Mighty God become helpless for all 
This paradox brings a sense of awe.
Prince of Peace, born to end all strife,
He conquers death and brings new life.
Who could have foretold such a wondrous thing
What once was hidden from prophets and kings?
That God would take on a human form
And be born among us on Christmas morn,
Because he took flesh he knows the ways
That sin and grief attend our days.
His sacrifice took away our sin.
Restoring the gift of His life within. 
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

The Mission

Photo by Miro Alt on

Niko edged through the door, hoping his mother wouldn’t notice.

“Zephan? Where have you been? I wanted you to go and get more goat cheese from Mr.Raintree before nightfall.” She spoke quietly, without reproach, but simply describing how it had been.

Zephan grimaced. He had forgotten. “I went to the old house on Hearthstone Hill. You know the one. Bruiser had dared me, and I thought you would rather have me go than have me come home with torn and dirty clothes again.”

She turned her face in his direction eagerly. “Really? You went there? Did you try the door?”

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Joy Comes in the Morning

Photo by Simon Matzinger on

Psalm 30

A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the temple. Of David.

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
    and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
    restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.[a]
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
    his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

Home At Last

 Homesick hungry weary lonely
Hearts beleaguered, yet unbowed
‘Still we seek thee ancient beauty
Shining prospect glimpsed through cloud.
Bright horizon, distant city
Where our joy cries out ,”Believe!”
Where our hearts are stilled and gentled
Love the atmosphere
We breathe.

Hearts that long for such a morning
Find no ease in emptiness—
Ancient beauty sate our yearning
Slake our thirst for holiness
For with thee the new day dawning
Soft and sweet all dread now ceasing
Peace and righteousness shall kiss 
And joy will ring out love’s
Great Feast.

Is This Any Way To Run A City?

The Mystery of Energy Metabolism

The Hidden City Continued

Biologists argue about which came first, metabolism or replication, or in other words, enzymes or DNA. Other biologists try to square the circle by saying, “We can have both at the same time with RNA.” But there is something missing from all three scenarios, without which they won’t get far. Both metabolism and replication require a means to store and transfer energy.

Modern day cells use a molecule called ATP for this process: adenosine triphosphate. It is related structurally to one of DNA’s building blocks: adenine. Compare their structures. Adenine is a base (double ring structure in orange). Add a sugar to it and it becomes adenosine. Add a phosphate to that and you have a nucleotide. Add two more phosphates, and you have ATP. Adenosine triphosphate.

Ho hum you say. What is so interesting about that?

Think of in this way. You have a computer system that stores its information in codes of four instead of two. Not 0s and 1s, but As, Cs, Ts, and Gs. Adenine is the A. One part of the code. Now imagine you take your computer hardware that does the encoding for A, whatever it is, stick a sticky bit on it, and a rechargeable battery, and suddenly you can light campfires and suck the power from light bulbs.

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