Monday, August 15, 2011

Starry, Starry Night...

And moonlit, too.  I was out walking the dogs at about 3:15 this morning.  The moon was high in the southern sky, full and bright.  It washed out most of the stars in the sky (especially near the moon), but in the northeast I could see almost all of Orion, rising from behind Gaskill Peak.

The dogs, of course, didn't care about all this beauty in the sky.  The three brown dogs were (as usual) doing the important work of smelling every possible scent deposited during the night.  Race, the border collie, had himself a stick.  He went through an endless cycle of dropping the stick, backing up and watching it intently for as along as he could stand it (maybe 10 seconds), then pouncing on the stick and victoriously dancing around with it.

The stick made an interesting sound when it struck the pavement – something close to the metallic ringing of a bell, but a muted and distinctly wooden.  It's not the mushy, soft sound one usually hears when a stick drops, though.  Once, years ago, struck by this sound, I did a bit of investigation.  I discovered that hardwood is more likely to make this curious sound than a softer wood.  Also, it turns out that the drier the wood is, the clearer this almost-ringing is.  So when I picked up Race's stick this morning, I wasn't surprised to discover that it was a piece of manzanita wood (very hard wood indeed) and very light (meaning it's very dry)...

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