Home > 2011 Posts, About Dave > Phase Boundaries

Phase Boundaries

January 19, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Remember High School Physics? Solids, liquids and gasses? That sort of thing? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Big blobs of stuff can be boring.

For me, not boring mostly comes at the contact points, in the places where they touch each other. Lots of not boring has also happened when I leave one for another. Dive off a rocky black ledge and fly through some thick, balmy air. Then, land in a tossing, turquoise sea and tell me if you agree.

This notion of excitement at the boundaries hadn’t really come together in words for me until recently. My bride and I were once again out on the ever-fascinating Oregon Coast. To us, the land around there is pretty much a non-descript temperate jungle. In the other direction, the North Pacific isn’t really much more than a huge, monotonous backdrop for The Deadliest Catch.

It’s where land, sea and sky meet that grabs us, making us pay attention. We go from bored to exhilarated just rounding that last turn before the beach, especially if it’s stormy or even just a bit breezy. At least, I and my bride do.

And that started me reflecting on my newly articulated phase boundary principle. I looked back on the most exciting moments of my life in the natural world and dozens of personal examples jumped out at me. Here are a few:

  • Standing in the deck-edge catwalk to see maybe a hundred flying fish leap out of the water near our bow, fins glinting in a glorious South China Sea sunset.
  • Balancing at the top of a sharp, craggy ridge on a golden day to see the same river sweep by on both sides far below.
  • Feeling ice-cold sheets of water pour down my neck in the pitch black a thousand feet underground while surveying an abandoned gold mine High Cascades.
  • Silently observing a Water Moccasin glide across my rifle barrel, disappearing into the foliage and roots while I was almost submerged in swamp, waiting to ambush ‘the enemy’ during training.
  • Watching from the Bridge as a twenty-foot wall of green water swept down the length of a thousand-foot flight deck time and again during a typhoon.
  • Body-surfing the perfect wave too long, getting pounded into grainy, green sand by the shore break, then sucked out again to pop up ecstatically and swim further out for another ride.
  • Hearing a gifted boatman sing O Sole Mio in the magical light of Capri’s Blue Grotto.

All these vivid memories and many more tell me something. Nature calls the loudest and experiences are the most alive when I’m near the phase boundaries.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: