Brett Rants

The Sky Goddess

She wants me, you know.

Cool colors, wonderful sunset, likely not that great, but a sunset, humans are funny folks, sunsets, we have been viewing them for a zillion years, and still find them pretty, now if you will excuse me, time to check my feed, wonder if anyone new has sent me a link

There are inter-weaving stories, inter-weaving narratives. There always are.

The simplest, most straightforward explanation (you know, the first of the four) is that I have the need and desire to post all my images online... one way or another. And those that do not make the cut will eventually get deleted from my files completely.

Simple really.

And as I am presently working on a new Summer Sunset series (fat chance I'll ever come back here and post a link), it was clearly time to sort through the old images I have of clouds and the sky.

I like clouds, I have never met anyone who has said otherwise, it is like moonlit walks on the beach, everyone likes them in theory, it is the reality of the darkness, the waves, the knowledge that anything is out there, that does a person in, but that moonlit beach thing implies darkness at night, clouds, more or less daylight, so what is the worst that could happen, gravity fail and one fall off the edge of the planet, well, I guess that would suck

In retrospect, I think it's fair to say I was an intellectual for most of my adulthood. Of course, that's a just bold-faced lie. I not really an intellectual, not as most folks would describe the term (witty, bright, etc, even if I am good looking and quick on my feet), but no matter the inaccuracies (not to imply I'm not good looking, I am, it's the witty and bright part that any who (and/or whom, who) come into contact with me might doubt, anyhow, intellectual), it is the easiest way (a shorthand, if you will) to look at my past. And what this means is that during the first forty or so years of my life, I read roughly a book a day (actually, it was probably much more than that, but I'll happily call it 10,000 tomes in total during that time-span). Please feel free to consider the foregoing a bit of random bravado... or the tale of a slacker, 'Ten thousand? That's it? Come on, I'd read that much by the time I was thirty,' which, you know, perhaps I had. At the time, I never thought to count.


Of pertinence is that those books (magazines, pamphlets, whatever, seriously, whatever, today I am reading about Ren Faires, and one of the documents I am perusing is an Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed expansion, so when I say I read, I'm not joking, anyway) in the past, they were mostly beginners books, the 101 series, maybe 202. Oh, sure, sometimes the topic was more advanced (plenty of college textbooks mixed in there... along with comic books), but in the end, I was reading (pretty much) whatever happened along and managed to spark my interest (so, shear randomness), which means the books were (more or less, but perhaps a bit less) distributed evenly along the plane of complexity as might relate to the reading public at large... um, which basically means, I read whatever the library, second hand store, or whatever had; and that means, I read far more pop psychology than raw philosophy.

But, hey! That which does not turn your brain into jelly only makes you smarter. Amiright? Amiright? Amiright?

This methodology (the aforementioned general sweep of human knowledge guided by the fates and curatorial tastes of Chief Librarians the world round) suited me well... until it did not. At which point, I decided to specialize. To make a long story short (or at least, this potentially long part of an even longer story a bit shorter), a false start in meteorology led to genetics, which finally ended in the digital world (otherwise known as computers).

Or in other words, I finally found my calling programming computers (a statement which sounds much more succinct than it really is; to wit, Computers equals Hardware, Software, and Math with the later two quickly subdividing into every scientific discipline known to Man... or, you know, I like computers, it's just easier to say). But before I reached that point, I spent a summer, a month, maybe a long week, who really knows at this point, thinking I'd delve deep into the science of meteorology.

It didn't take, of course.

But I like to think that it explains these images of clouds, you know, not that there are that many. I did not take as many photos back then (a thousand in a year), as I do now (perhaps that many in a week).

NOTE: I delete a far higher proportion of the photographs I take now than I did back then, keeping only one for every hundred or more images shot in this day and age. So really, I just got more trigger happy, as film became cheaper. And with that mention of film, I shall just note that somewhere I read a digital camera has a finite life, being able to take maybe a hundred thousand pictures or so (circa 2010) before the receptors burn out: a fact, which I mention, just to give an idea of how truly far reaching the term 'computers' is in this day and age. Or in other words, nothing has really changed in my reading habits. I'm still interested in everything. It's just that the intended audience for half of my reading material is other computer programmers, but whether the secondary content has to do with Astronomy, Embedded Devices, the Structure of Language, or whatever is entirely beside the point (just like most of this rant). I am not a focused guy.

Now, what were we talking about?

Have I mentioned the three layers, this one is of the third, the highest, I am guessing, who cares after all these years, the previous, slightly lower, as you can see a streak of the highest clouds to the right

I lived in Hawaii... for far longer than the average bear (and/or mainland based Haole).

I lived at the cloud line, at the front, at the line between the wet side and the dry side, where the rain clouds are always rolling in, but never quite arrive. I spent years living in the headwinds of an ever-approaching storm that (typically) never arrived.

The layers of clouds were, on the average day, three layers deep:
  1. The ground fog (the aforementioned, cloud front)
  2. The mountain clouds (those caused by the island's topology)
  3. And, upper atmospheric effects (mostly experienced as streaks way up there in the sky)
It made for a compelling study... too bad meteorology revolves around calculus (not what I want to do with my life).

DOUBLE NOTE: I may, in fact, be smarter than the 'average bear' when it comes to the maths, but 'talking horses', as a class, have got me hooves down.

My favorite saying in German is 'Nien. Ich sprechen si natch Deutsche!' which I am led to believe is German for 'No. I don't speak a lick of German, but thanks for asking.' a statement, which invariably leads to a string of rapid speech from my newfound German speaking acquaintance. 'Beer? Ya?' and friends for life.

So, what would be an equivalent statement of mathematical ignorance?

Maybe something alone the lines of:

i = suc-1({})

by which I intend to call to mind the inverse of the successor function, as applied to the empty set... or, that which comes before nothing.

Grasshopper, we have liftoff; for, I am the empty vessel.

TL;DR: I be one stupid, ignorant so-and-so in way more disciplines than any slack-boy idiot has the right to be.

That's right! My ranting credentials are complete and in order! Huzzah!

You may now read on.

This was taken in the backyard on the Big Island of Hawaii, I lived there, you know, for like three years, so read it and weap, and this was a typical evening sky, for a year or two, I would walk outside at sunset, it was easy to remember as I would walk the cats around that time, and watch the sky change colors, it was wonderful, Mauna Kea in the distance, the stars beyond, there being telescopes on that there hill

All in all, the preceding must seem completely irrelevant. But it is required background if one wants to know the full story (well, the parts not in italics, anyhow).

Back in Hawaii, driving down the coast, down to the coast, and then up the coast one evening (directions, which are exceedingly clear in my mind), I experienced the Sky Goddess via the sunset in all her glory.

How does one describe this experience? Not in a photo, that is for sure. And it was not like meeting any of the other gods... whenst walking in a lava field... or during one's deepest darkest slumber (a.k.a. one's dreams, when one would think they would be safe), only upon awakening to remember the entire exchange.

Let me tell you, that woman was a wise one.

After all, I had asked her, 'What's your name?'

And she was smart, laying the blame on me, as she side-stepped my inquiry in her reply, 'Eh, what does it matter? You'd never say it right anyhow.'

And just like that dream (vision, call it mystical, magical, near religious experience), watching the sun slowly dip over the horizon and into the ocean was (also) a magical (dreamlike, near religious experience). I mean, come on, a Sky Goddess there before my very eyes, how could it not be?

There was magic in the air. It was, perhaps, akin to that time I walked down an (almost certainly) haunted road on a hot Wisconsin night (a story, which clearly calls for a post of its own).

Begin susesptible, I decided... or realized... or came to believe... or just started telling folks, you know, without regard to the truth of the matter... or the underlying lie... or whatever you want to call it... that I had been welcomed to the island by (and therefore, was a guest of) the Sky Goddess... until such a time as I no longer was.

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Standing on a lava field...
Listening to the waves...
Watching the setting sun...

Three great memories, made all the greater, after being rolled into one.

© copyright 2017 Brett Paufler