Monday, February 02, 2009

half, snow, surfaces

Posted by Picasa Although I don't need to use it right away, I cut the tomato in half, because half of it is beginning to go bad. I have not thought about the beauty of the seeds, which sometimes look like teeth; or how, seen from a certain angle, the cross-section of a tomato, or a section of the cross-section, looks like a smile.

There was a time, when I was young, when we took snow for granted. Fun for children , usually a nuisance for grown ups, it was something youcould always rely on,if not before Christmas, at least in January or February. Nowadays, heavy snowfalls in the South of England are rare, and even if, as it does today, snow brings London to standstill, stops trains from running, blocks motorways, means closed airport runways and canceled flights, closed schools, you feel that something special has happened. Nature has said "hey ho, hey nonny no" or something of the sort; "let's have a holiday!"And sure enough, in the Grove this afternoon, not only mothers and children, but Dads, who couldn't get to work, are frolicking and larking about. They are rolling huge snowballs across the grass and making an army of snowmen. Dogs, who have never known anything like it, are tearing about as though it is designed for their special pleasure. I stand at the corner of the Grove and think of Breughel.

Sometimes, though occasionally it occurs to me that I might have something useful to say, I think that the young know far more than I do about what makes the world go round. So it is a surprise today when grand-daughter Giselle rings to tell me that she has a project at school and would like to consult me about it! "Surfaces" is the subject, and she has most of the year to complete the project. She can choose her medium and interpret the brief in any way she likes. It's a bit like the topics which the on-line magazine, Qrrtsiluni comes up with every two months and which immediately send your mind into overdrive. We talk for a while about fractals (or, to my shame, at least I do) and what the inside surface of a hollow sphere might be like. As for a medium we speculate (or, at least to my shame, I do) about shrink film and tin foil. My confused thoughts, unprepared and unregulated, spray out like a geyser. I am enjoying myself, I think; I hope that she is.


Anonymous said...

Snow has been rare here as well. This winter we had a lot, was lovely at first but it has stuck around unusually long. Our middle daughter and her family were home for Christmas and got quite tired of trying to get around in it. They just got back to London a few days ago and are shocked to face snow there too! And they left their winter gear here.

Lucas said...

The description of children and dads frolicking in the snow in the Grove is evidence that in the world of virtual experience and palets jaded by electronic versions of reality, innocence and celebration survives. Thanks.

Roderick Robinson said...

A tomato can define the sharpness of a knife. It should be possible to draw the blade across the stretched skin and allow the weight of the knife to do the cutting.

Your dissertation on Surfaces triggers a memory of my super-academic uncle (Double first in Greats at Oxford; latterly headmaster of Bradford Grammar School) mentioned by me for the first time in the blogosphere. A class of students, asked to write an essay on Windows, laboriously churned out stuff about the making of glass and the fashioning of wooden frames. One of them, however, tackled the topic from a philosophic viewpoint. Needless to say my uncle (who never seems to have encountered any scholastic dumbos like me) directed the lad into the upper reaches of Oxbridge and for all I know he's now dominating the universe. I applaud the way you assumed your similarly onerous responsibilities.

Unknown said...

The snow, before we are used to it, seems to be melting.
I don't know about knives and tomatoes. But I like the feather test for a samurai sword. You hold the blade under a falling feather, and if it is sharp, it cuts the feather two.