Gold is Not All Trains

October 13, 2008

Unlike most days, today was one of lessons to be learnt: that the truth of old proverbs still to this day remains unchallenged. The expressions may be rewritten to include modern events, without the meaning being altered.

As my lectures ended some ten minutes ahead of schedule, I walked slowly off campus in direction of the train station. I am used to running as my train departs only minutes after the lectures are supposed to end. Today was hence less stressful and I intended to make the most of it.

When I was 250 metres from the train station I could see a train approaching; the blue a stark contrast to the yellowing trees. I glanced at my watch and realised that it was full time, the train arriving was the train I was supposed to catch, thinking that my slow pace was too slow – which would not be too surprising. I was about to miss the only train in half an hour!

I panicked. And I ran.

Because the train station is located 10 metres above street level, with a gravelled slope leading to the tracks, running to not miss the train is something one only does when determined to not wait half and hour for the next rain to arrive. (Especially so when rain is in the air and cold breezes are blowing.) The slope in question is most unforgiving to run up for, as the deep layers of gravel make one fall back two steps for each step one takes to move forward.

Eventually, I made it. The conductor was kind enough to wait a few seconds for me, which I was most grateful for. As soon as I had entered the train I sat down on the nearest unoccupied seat and collapsed into a pile of exhaustion, much to the amusement of the other passengers.

Outside the autumn landscape passed by my view.

And then my station passed by.

I glanced at my watch again, and the remembered that the watch in question always is set ten minutes ahead of time, so I won’t miss the train. It worked, I didn’t miss the train. I just caught the wrong one.

The next station was miles from my area, and I could do little but to wait for a train to take me back.While I stood there in the autumn cold and watched the yellowing trees, two thoughts travelled through my mind. First, I thought, that a world around a blue star would be most depressing as its plants would be yellow, at least according to an article I read in Scientific American Magazine on the topic of astrobiology. The second thought which ocurred to me was that the old proverb still is true to this modern day.

Gold is not all which shines.
(And I beg you for your forgiveness when it comes to my lame translation.)

In a more modern context, coupled with my recent experiences, the proverb should go like this:

Not all trains which arrive at the same time as one will take one to one’s desired destination.

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Science in the Morning

October 5, 2008

I cannot say that the past month and a half has been among my most productive, but it is a fact I am used to realising around this time of year. When the days grow shorter and the year slowly approaches its end, I simply do not feel like creating, be it either pictures of writings. My muses leave me on each cloudy day, but I cannot blame them; I wish I could do the same.

Most of this morning I have spent lost in the world of a book. Had it been a novel, I assume I would have been excused, but it was no novel, no fictional work of written art. Had it been university course literature I would have been worthy of an accolade for my motivation to succeed, but neither was it that kind of book. No, as usual, I was lost to the realm of science; a field wholly unrelated to my current studies, a field taunting me with all the achievements it requires before one is deemed worthy of entering its lines.

Outside the winds are howling, determined to scar an aging land more than what is called for. The trees may be on fire, there is no doubt, but neither rain nor wind can extinguish them. These blazing fires will cease when their time has come, and then the wind will strip the last colourful leaves of the dark tress’ branches. Not before.

The rain which falls is cold and heavy, and the farther the distance from where I gaze the softer it appears to be. Across the immediate lands within my view the rain has formed a soft mist, a whisper of summer’s rain. It veils the landscapes while they await the arrival of winter, a month and a half from now, give or take.

Sheltered from the outdoors’ cold I sat, my foot moving like the tail of a delighted dog. Surely, I had much better—more productive—tasks to tend to, but for the moment I was content with paying them not a single thought. Neither the weather nor the season matters to me whenever scientific writings are near. In a season of no sunshine, in a season of rain and howling winds, science is my sunshine, much like it should be the inspiration of the whole world.