On his round yesterday, the mailman told me about a group of Long-Eared Owls (Asio otus), resting in a nearby tree. A truly wonderful sight. The owls looked at me with some curiosity as I was stepping around, trying to get the focus right.
The legendary aloofness of these great birds is perfectly reflected in this individual. The species is still vulnerable and Asio otus is therefore on the IUCN red List of endangered species with the indication ‘vulnerable’. So I’m very happy to know that these guys have chosen a place to spend a quiet day nearby. I know next to nothing about birds, so I won’t pretend here that I do, and invite you to check out the links.
I quite like the symmetry of this photo. I chose this point somewhat consciously (my original position was more to the left), but the end result pleases me more than I imagined this morning when I took it.
As dr. Bronowski is slowly discovering a trail leading him steadily into the realm of the ‘subtle arts’, the plot is definitely thickening. Although chemistry did not belong to the 7 Artes Liberales, as they were more poised toward logic, mathematics, grammar, and law, the medieval fascination with the transformation of matter itself, especially where Aristotelic, and Neoplatonic traditions collided, has lead to quite a bit of interesting experimentation on the side, and also to some essential categorization, taken up by the likes of Dimitry Mendelejev, Marie Curie, Otto Hahn, and Oppenheimer, without whom, after all, we wouldn’t have such charming tools as the H-bomb. But, where does this leave us? And what is the connection with the predicted End of the World? Darn…, I love a good story! If I have a spare moment,I will try to scan and clean up the next page.
The image on the page is interesting. The letter ‘d’ is somehow formed as the result of some kind of chemical reaction, or synthesis. Bronowski links the image with Hermes Trismegistos, and, thus with the hermetic arts. Whether that is a logical inference, I don’t know. The identification of the letter itself as ‘Fraktur’, which is a distinctive german script, is, I think, premature. It could easily be a mid XVth century French letter. It also is much closer to a general littera textualis than to the more flamboyant hybrida, which developed in the chanceries of the Dukes of Burgundy. All in all, difficult to say without access to the original. We now must see everything through Bronowski’s eyes. I’m seriously considering to start a hunt for the original.