Monthly Archive for June, 2009

Atomic Number 79

I just can’t sit still lately. I can’t think straight for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m extremely, unduly anxious and my head keeps teasing my heart, tormenting it, making fun of the sore spots and tickling the scars… you know, the smooth parts that have *healed* and are thick and tougher than spit? No big deal right? Except that they are overly sensitive under the slightest pressure. Bring on the punches. I can take those all day. In fact, let’s fight… kick me, jump on me and I’ll barely notice. But dammit, don’t… don’t you dare brush up against the ghosts of these stripes, exposed, weeping, floating just above their graves… it could destroy me.

We’ve been learning lately @flatironschurch about the worthlessness of worry and other choking weeds of life. I never really considered myself a worrier, until we started in on the “Green Thumb” series a few weeks ago. Of all the words to use and ways I could describe myself, the phrase “restlessly anxious” had never, ever crossed my mind. Now, it’s about all I can do to go from one minute to the next peacefully inside. My wires are tangled and transmissions feel incoherent. I feel like a nervous ball of light overheating, bouncing off the walls. I’m not even that sure of what I’m so bunched up about… I’m fearful of losing love; of being blind and left for dead. Maybe it’s just the iron doors I used to hide behind are rusting and corroding in the orbiting sodium light drawing me in. My eyes got adjusted to the lack of such brilliance. It’s startling. Maybe these keen movements inside me are just lifetimes of dormant vapors thriving towards this light, with the single desire to be ignited. Refined.

An amalgam of metallic sodium and mercury lies at the coolest part of the lamp and provides the sodium and mercury vapor in which the arc is drawn. The temperature of the amalgam is determined to a great extent by lamp power. The higher the lamp power, the higher will be the amalgam temperature. The higher the temperature of the amalgam, the higher will be the mercury and sodium vapor pressures in the lamp. An increase in these metal pressures will cause a decrease in the electrical resistance of the lamp. For a given voltage, there are generally three modes of operation:

1. The lamp is extinguished and no current flows.
2. The lamp is operating with liquid amalgam in the tube.
3. The lamp is operating with all amalgam evaporated.

The first and last states are stable, because the lamp resistance is weakly related to the voltage, but the second state is unstable. Any anomalous increase in current will cause an increase in power, causing an increase in amalgam temperature, which will cause a decrease in resistance, which will cause a further increase in current. This will create a runaway effect, and the lamp will jump to the high-current state (#3). Since actual lamps are not designed to handle this much power, this would result in catastrophic failure. Similarly, an anomalous drop in current will drive the lamp to extinction. It is the second state which is the desired operating state of the lamp. [1]

I’ve nothing to offer up to appease this nervousness aside from frequent petitions to the Light within the light to hold me together as this unsettling energy runs rampant, twisting my back and crushing my shoulders with its dust. All I know is that my heart feels like it weighs three times its weight in gold and not nearly as valuable. I think it is funny that gold is stuck in between platinum and mercury on the elemental scale — platinum is resistant to corrosion, does not oxidize and is strong and brilliant; and mercury is poisonous, it only hardens at near freezing temperatures and is used in facilitating light. But gold… gold is so soft and malleable a single ounce can be beaten into about 300 square feet, thin enough it becomes translucent radiating in a green-blue glow of filtered light.

Breathing takes slow, focused effort. My heart hurts. Quite literally. There are not many specifics. It just pounds in my chest trying to make its way to the surface, I think. Will you be there to tend to it, to catch it when it jumps out? Is this what it feels like to be alive? Why does it sting. I’m giving it to you. Again. I’ve given it to you. Your hands are soft and cool, gentle, safe. I trust that you’ll know what to do with it because I can’t see past it.

[1] Wikipedia: Sodium-vapor lamp

Catching Light

Last weekend, Jen and I bolted to the mountains on a virtually kid-less, early Sunday morning on a wild hair to fulfill a long-time desire to capture an idea on “film.” Cali was with us but she’s a little angel and aside from toting her across a river, she let her crazy parents get lost in their musings. We took approximately 438 pictures of Jen in a perfectly-old-fashioned lace gown in the forest with not-so-old-fashioned eye make-up.

Catching Light

She's chasing the light and I'm chasing the light in her eyes

The image [above] is the result of a sleepless night hyped up on creative energy with a sense of adventure and fantasy coursing through my fingertips. Now, all week long I’ve been staring at this image (set as the desktop on all my digital things with screens) compiling a song in the back of my head in between writing code, pushing pixels, and trying desperately to immerse myself in my tasks at work and everything else that requires my attention. Under heavy influence of Neverending White Lights as well, but wait… you can’t hear the music in my head.

It’s been ten years of marriage so far. I’ve been dead for the past couple of years; felt hollow and dense as granite. Work was killing me and I was letting it. But recently the flickerings and sparks of a flame eternal have been igniting, and, literally burning me up inside. I see her and pictures of her and I feel like a goofy, clumsy, overheated infatuated boy. I feel alive again. Below is the first draft, attempting to collect the murmurings of my heart about what my wife (and this image) invokes deep inside me in places that have not seen the light of day in eons.

Soft rain, salted painting everything gray and the colors of
Everything else
Life racing anxiously, aimless in my veins
Crimson run, run as fast as you can…
Sky, pour out life from above
Bathe my face, my heart in drops of light and

She smiles and…
She smiles.

She’s chasing the light and
I’m chasing the light in her eyes

She watches the world and
Life passes by and
We get pushed aside and
Forgotten fears lurk in the dark, in the corners of the light and
Where the hell did all this time go?

From beginnings to ends
She’s chasing light
Time stops, flickering in her eyes
And I’m chasing that light in her eyes
Maybe just once I’ll catch that light
Chasing the light in…

Forever she holds
Time stopped in her eyes and
I’m chasing the light in her eyes and
Together we’ll be chased by gravity across the sky and
I’m always chasing the light in her eyes

Maybe just once I’ll catch the light…

Now… I just need to learn a few things about making music. Oh, and check out some other pics and perspectives from Jen’s side of the story.