Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Path to Skeletons

After a post that emphasized the precision needed to create certain geometric drawings, I'm taking liberties with this one. First, I want to thank Sierrosmith for supplying me with a proper name for a 15-agon: pentadecagon.
The above image indicates what can happen to the mind of a naturalist who loves math. [Click on it to get a closer view of the details.]
When I looked out the back door of our school this morning, I was struck by the silhouettes of the two poplar trees that have lost all their leaves. Then, the Sierra Pacific train parked in the background came into view. Both items caused me to imagine skeletons. Then I noticed the kids' play structure, a geodesic dome made out of metal tubing. Then the compost bin and the decorative fence made by my friend Chris Bolton. Then the barbed-wire fence. It seemed that everything I looked at reminded me of skeletons, not in the sense of thinking about death but of thinking about supporting structures, like an armature is to a sculptor. I had a memory flashback to a great comedian of my youth whose name I always mispronounced "Red Skeleton." To top it all off, when I re-entered the building after taking the photo, I walked by our computer lab and the most prominent background on a screen was an image of Stonehenge. It appeared to me like the skeleton of a giant coelenterate (jelly-fish), even though they don't have skeletons! So much for the cluttered brain of a naturalist. Perhaps this was my way of finding some beauty in a scene that was actually cluttered with human artifacts.

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