When we moved in to our current place 2 years ago (in March!); I added a few moderate-sized boulders to the yard—they are a lovely hardscape addition to our more “natural” yard landscape, but I really delight in the moss that grow on them. In fact, when I was at the, um, rock yard, to pick them out, I was particularly focused on the amount of existing (at that time of the year very dry) moss clumps, to the great amusement of the guy driving the tractor to move the rock.
These roses were blooming last week between storms. Roses are a lovely forerunner of seasonality!
Although not a botany lesson, I love the use of imagery in the Bette Midler song*. Not pertinent to our area where nothing is beneath any snows, but…:
When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long.
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong.
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose.
*Yes, as far as I am concerned it’s her song…and her movie…but kudos to the song writer, Amanda McBroom.
And remember! Valentine’s Day is a good reminder to start fertilizing your roses! (Because OF COURSE you’ve already pruned them…) I have found great success with these options. (With the stakes, you can poke them in and forget them for several months.)
As we move into the new year on the Gregorian calendar, it’s interesting to note a couple of achievements in space exploration that recently took place.
(Incidentally, the Lunar New Year is the beginning of a year whose months are coordinated by the cycles of the moon. Chinese New Year 2019 begins on February 5—it’s the year of the Pig.)
In a first, just at the close of the old year, NASA—our civilian space agency that sometimes conducts military missions—confirmed that their New Horizons spacecraft explored Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule, marking the first encounter with a celestial body this distance from the earth, and possibly the oldest space object ever explored.
Another first, just at the beginning of the new year, the China National Space Administration (CNSA)—a military agency that sometimes conducts civilian missions—landed the first space vehicle on the dark, or lunar farside, of the moon. It’s quite an achievement that will hopefully spur additional efforts. This side of the moon is blocked from direct communication with the earth, requiring a relay satellite for the lander to send data and receive commands. This unique position also blocks Electromagnetic interference (EMI), also called radio-frequency interference (RFI), offering a potentially pristine opportunity for deep space exploration if devices can be positioned to take advantage of this position while still being able to effectively communication with earth.
China’s Chang’e 4 probe
It takes the moon about the same amount of time to spin once on its axis as it does for the natural satellite to orbit the Earth: 27.3 days. Because of this “tidal locking,” we only ever see one face of the moon, which we call the near side.
The PBS NewsHour Science Correspondent, Miles O’Brien, offered interesting insight on this achievement.
While we are marking the transition of a year:
The Ten Best Science Books of 2018 according to Smithsonian magazine: These titles explore the wide-ranging implications of new discoveries and experiments, while grounding them in historical context.
Nine science stories to watch in 2019 according to the Los Angeles Times.
Stories likely to make headlines in 2019 according to Science.
A couple of recent studies about mindfulness meditation suggest “even a very small ‘dose’ can have beneficial effects in individuals with very little or no practice.” Meaning that even people who don’t meditate regularly can benefit from even one short session of mindfulness meditation.
The suggestion is not that short, irregular meditation is preferable but that any meditation can be a benefit. There are also previous studies that point to the benefits of regular meditation.
I’m not regular enough about when I do it, but I try to be consistent about inserting meditative moments throughout my day. Some of the best practices start with sincere intention that build on even occasional meditation sessions.
Set an intention to make an opportunity to meditate soon! An audio of a guided meditation session might be a real asset to you. The version that works best can be a personal preference, so try a few out—you can find them through a web search, or in your online audio file source (like iTunes) including podcast sources, or even in app stores.
Read the full study.
I found myself mesmerized by these two different types of bees sharing one flower—a European honey bee and a native species—each having its foraging needs met without disturbing or beeing (get it…) disturbed by the other. It was a nice moment…and a lesson…
The UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab has some great information on the Common Bee Groups in California.
In August of 1998, I was honored to have writtern this article, published in the Bay Area Reporter. Today, I was honored that they published my reflections on this 20th anniversary.