The kingdom of the mind

August 14, 2008

This morning, I was at work, and I received a phone call from my Aunt Christine.  My aunt informed me that my grandfather had passed away last night after suffering a heart attack Friday evening.  My grandfather was 80, and would have been 81 in December.  He worked for the legal department at Union Pacific for his entire career, and retired in 1986.  He suffered his first heart attack in 1980, and his response was to put a nitroglycerin tablet under his tongue and drive a half hour to the hospital in Council Bluffs.  Over the past few years his health had began deterioriating, and so I was reasonably prepared for his passing.

One of the most important things I learned from my grandfather is to observe the world around you.  The first thing you would see upon entering their house was a barometer on the wall, an instrument of observation.  Implicit in the possession of that instrument was knowledge of how to use it and interpret the results that it gave.  Of course, this meant that rather than getting video games or a new bike for my birthday, I got a microscope, and a telescope, amongst other things.

Admittedly, I didn’t have much use for the telescope, as my family lived in the city, and getting an unobstructed view of the panorama of the universe is very difficult living in a city, but there you go.   On the other hand, my grandparents lived in a rural area, and they had a brilliant view from their property.  Over the summer, were I to get away from my nintendo (which didn’t happen nearly as often as it should have), I would find myself with my telescope, or binoculars (another gift) watching the Perseid meteor showers, observing the planets, and finding constellations.

All that said, there’s more to say on this subject, and I’ll probably add to this as needed.