Sunday, May 26, 2019

Day 3440

While I was walking today I passed a tent where one of my favorite smokehouses was giving away free barbecue. I was initially dumbfounded. Was this place where I've spent a lot of money over the years buying smoked hams for Easter actually giving its pricy meat away for free? A lady serving must have noticed my expression because she looked at me and said "Come over here and grab a plate." She proceeded to pile the plate with potato salad and smoked brisket. I wasn't going to complain. I took my plate and sat under a nearby tree, watching a Great Egret hunt for food while I ate my impromptu meal. Egrets stick their long necks forward while hunting and then with a lightning fast move strike to snatch their prey. I don't know what the Egret was eating today, but I think my meal was much better.

The park seemed unusually festive for a holiday weekend honoring fallen soldiers. As I was eating my free barbecue I could hear a mariachi band playing in the distance. The lake was dotted with bright orange rental kayaks and it looked like a sailboat race was about to get underway. I passed several very large family gatherings complete with a bounce house for the kids. There were bicycles, skateboards, and inline skates everywhere. There were also lots of flags. I guess everybody has their own way of celebrating the Memorial Day weekend. I'm not sure everything I saw today was appropriate, but I do think good barbecue is appropriate for any situation.

I got my 20,000 steps today but it seemed like more of an effort than usual. It was probably the heat. Walking is a lot more enjoyable when it is 60 degrees than when it is 90 degrees. I'm going to have to start wearing a hat when I go outside. My hair is getting thinner and I'm already getting sunburned on the top of my head.

I guess I could stay inside and walk around and around on the indoor track at the gym. A lot of people seem to do this. I like watching the animals and identifying flowers though. Outdoors is better. Maybe I'll spend more time at the gym in July. All the animals are in hiding by then and the meadows are dry and brown. About the only thing you see in the park in the middle of summer are dragonflies.

While I was resting between walks I watched a mini-marathon of a show called Breakthrough: the ideas that changed the world on PBS. It was interesting to learn how everyday objects like cars, smartphones, and telescopes changed the world forever. The backstories behind the development of these iconic objects was fascinating. I took a special interest in the episode about telescopes. Even the early Egyptians knew that glass could magnify things. As early as the Middle Ages, monks wore crude eyeglasses to help them illuminate manuscripts. It took another century or so before someone held some concave and convex lenses in front of each other and discovered that they could make distant objects larger. When Galileo used one of these simple early telescopes to discover that Venus had phases like the moon and that Jupiter had moons of its own, he concluded that the planets all orbited around the sun, which got him in big trouble with the pope. He was found guilty of heresy and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. Somehow this rocky start to modern astronomy still let to the Hubble Space Telescope and the Ultra-Deep Field photographs that showed the universe to be much larger and more complex than anyone had expected. I'll have to watch the rest of this series. It's pretty amazing how we got to where we are today.

Another stranger in the park today stopped me to ask about Dash. I'd never noticed this guy before. He and his wife were on bicycles and they told me that it was strange to see me walking alone. Apparently they'd been watching me walk Dot and Dash for many years. They said their own dog had died of cancer five years ago and they still hadn't gotten over it. I told them I understood completely.

Chief is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day