Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Groundhog, Lincoln, and Darwin.

After a busy year of gnome-ing, I took a much needed holiday from my adventures and journeyed west to visit friends and family. Sadly, the rather routine 15 hours from Edinburgh to Seattle turned into an epic 33 hours filled with missed flights, interesting passengers, and weather! At one point Delta wanted me to get through security in Atlanta without issuing me a boarding pass. Luckily I wasn’t apprehended for such shenanigans.

As the plane rolled into the gate in Seattle, the snowflakes began… We had almost 2.5feet in a little over 24 hours effectively snowing me in.

I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my main squeeze – my fiery haired nephew Donovan; teaching him the cool things in life including cooking, dancing, and taking pictures. I bought him a cute little toy camera a few years ago and he caught on pretty quick. When I left he was saying, “Smile.”; “Take a picture?”; “Say cheese.” I’m certain that although endearing to me, its probably lost its charm with his parents. But, that’s what cool aunts do!

2008 was a big year for this wee gnome! I published a book. I was awarded a PhD. I adventured. And, in the end, three of my photos were published in the local science magazine – EUSci. (Check out pages 19 and 28 of Issue 2.) Ultimately, 2008 left without much fuss at all, although this crimson sky left me a bit apprehensive about the year ahead… It will be a year of changes for this gnome. Big ones!

After a few delays, I returned to Edinburgh just in time for the Groundhog to see his shadow. Shortly there after, the UK began experiencing its coldest and snowiest weather in almost 20 years. While crippling London, Edinburgh got just a dusting of snow, and that is more than enough for this gnome (originally from the land of sun). I admit, a couple days in a row I did take the longer route into the office to capture these images. Who knows when we’ll see the white stuff again?

My backyard complete with snowmen.

One of the classical views of this most classical city.

On to a mildly educational, but certainly entertaining thought. While in the US, major hay was made of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, 12 February. Interestingly, Darwin was also born 200 years ago on the same day. It got me to thinking about chance. What are the chances that two men, who would have such a profound effect on the human condition, would be born on the same day? I wonder what they would have said to each other if they could have met during the 1830s? And, how different would the world be if neither had been born? I reckon the Flying Spaghetti Monster might be fact had Darwin not written On The Origins of Species. Although, there may be some scientific basis to global warming and the loss of pirates!

To celebrate Darwin’s 200th, Edinburgh has chosen to use the annual ‘One City, One Book’ initiative to continue the debate about evolution. As a means of a very short recap – Edinburgh is a world heritage City of Literature. Each February we promote literacy and our rich heritage by handing out hundreds of free copies of the book of choice. I invite you to join me in reading the book of the month – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. For more information, please visit One Book One City 2009.

I'll leave you with undoubtedly my favorite view of Edinburgh:

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