Monday, January 27, 2014

Of Things Aerial and Earthbound

Photo by Chris
That lead-in photo was borrowed from a blog post by the aforementioned Chris back in September of '09. Of which the photographer (and pilot, yes I said pilot) had this to say -
Another shot of Mount Ascutney.  This mountain is best known as Vermont's only monadnock ("lone mountain" - enhance your word power!).  Though its peak only reaches 3,143 feet, its isolation makes it stand out from a distance.  I think the town in the foreground is Windsor, VT.  Yay for situational awareness!  Ok, so I cheated and used Google after the flight was over.
Having grown up seeing that mountain to the north every day for 22 years, I instantly recognized a couple of things.
  1. That's the Connecticut River in the lower left of the screen and
  2. Interstate 91 is that straight line cutting across the flanks of the hills just behind the town of Windsor.
And I didn't need to check Google. Being native to the region, I didn't really need to. (Though I probably will later. I am kinda OCD that way!)

Now I have flown above and around that mountain a number of times in my youth. Back when my best friend had a pilot's license, we were both single and had jobs and (most importantly) sufficient disposable income to head for the local airport every now and then for to rent a single-engined flying machine. For the purposes of turning aviation fuel into entertainment. Hhmm, actually "sheer joy" is a better descriptor than mere "entertainment".

So why this picture?

As I may have mentioned in the past, my Muse is a rather fickle thing. Sometimes I head for the keyboard full of vim and vigor, fully prepared to commit thought to electronic paper. (For such is how I think of it. The screen is my canvas. It's also where I mix metaphors.)

Other times I stare at the screen much like those apes at the beginning of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Bemused and bewildered. Though normally I think of something to write or I go do something else before I start trying to smash the monolith/monitor. After all, the kids bought me that monitor and it's very nice. (It would also be expensive to replace. Bear in mind, many of my ancestors were Scots. So "expensive" is anything other than "free". At least in my lexicon.)

So (having digressed once again, as I so often do), why this picture?

At first I was thinking about the Green Mountains, which form the backbone of my native land. (And while they are not green at the moment, being snow-covered and all, I thought them perhaps, "post-worthy".) So I'm casting about in Google Images for, well, images of the Green Mountains. Then I thought of Mt. Ascutney. Searched for it and found that picture. And Photographic Logbook. If you haven't checked out those links above, then go there. The guy has some awesome pictures. (Hint, hint, go check. I'll wait here...)

Now I also wanted to address that "monadnock" thing above. As Buck might say, "I had no ideer!" Because in New Hampshire, near Keene, which I drive through whenever I head North to the ancestral lands, there is this -

Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire
So a "monadnock" is defined as a lone mountain and it's an actual mountain in New Hampshire! I wonder what the origin of the word "monadnock" is. Which came first, the mountain or the term? Well, there's this from (of course) Wikipedia -
A monadnock or inselberg is an isolated rock hill, knob, ridge, or small mountain that rises abruptly from a gently sloping or virtually level surrounding plain. In southern and southern-central Africa, a similar formation of granite is known as a kopje, a Dutch word ("little head") from which the Afrikaans word koppie was derived. If the monadnock is dome-shaped and formed from granite-gneiss, it can also be called a bornhardt.
(Hhmm, is Mt Monadnock a monadnock AND a bornhardt? Could be. After all, New Hampshire is also known as "The Granite State". Hhmm...)

Live and learn. The only reason I am so excited about this is (1) my child-like pleasure in learning new things and (2) it's Monday, I'll take anything on a Monday which is out of the ordinary.

On to other matters.

I have added two new blogs to the "Things I Like To Read" list over there along the starboard rail. Photographic Logbook (as noted above) and  Ol' Buzzard's World View.

Now I did some soul searching before adding Ol' Buzzard. Some of his views of the world and life in general are diametrically opposed to my own. But since when do I have to agree with a point of view to find it interesting? Uh, never. As long as someone has an opinion and presents it in an entertaining and/or thought-provoking way, I'll read it. I may not agree with it but I'll read it. And recommend it to others.

And that Gentle Reader, is what I like to call diversity. It ain't about skin color. The world would be a pretty dull place if we all agreed with each other all of the time. A little controversy, a little different slant on things gets the creative juices flowing.

At least it does for me.

(And the Ol' Buzzard and his wife recently lost their beloved cat. And he posted of it here. Being an animal lover gets you lots of points in my book. Lots. Cats, dogs, bunnies, what-have-you.)


  1. Though its peak only reaches 3,143 feet...

    Which is only 300 feet higher than the LOWEST point in NM (I know this because Google is my friend). I'm sitting at 4,078 feet as I type this comment... and the view is exceedingly flat out my window. We Americans are the beneficiaries of topographical diversity, we are.

    Happy Monday!

    1. Topographically diverse we are!

      Oh yes, Happy Monday to you as well. (If you don't have to go to work, is it still called "Monday"?)

    2. Yeah... we have to call it Monday if we want to have anything to do with the folks who still work.

      I'm not sure we can call our local (about 60 miles) vertical protruberance a monadnock.
      But Mt. Shasta does stand out pretty much by itself.
      The base of the mountain is somewhere around 3600 feet.
      On the other hand there is a dearth of snow upon that mountain so it does not bode well.

    3. Ah yes, gives a common point of reference. As to Shasta being a monadnock, that I wouldn't hazard a guess on. (As before today I had no idea what a monadnock was, other than a mountain in NH.) But it is BIG and impressive.

    4. If you don't have to go to work, is it still called "Monday"?

      Well, I think it's still called Monday. I'm not aware of any alternative naming convention.

      Apropos o' not much... are you British? I ask because the Brits put punctuation marks outside of quotes, Americans place them inside. Which would look like this in my quoted example: "If you don't have to go to work, is it still called 'Monday?'" The rules are here.

      We are SUCH a pedant, yanno?

    5. I sucked at two things in elementary school (and beyond): cursive and punctuation. To this day, in a continuing spirit of revolt, I don't use cursive and my punctuation is abysmal. (Besides which, language should evolve, most punctuation rules are stodgy and inefficient. That's my story and I'm sticking with it. So there, nyah, nyah, nyah.)

  2. Dang, and I though monadnock was just a cool sounding word! My education is now complete!

  3. I'd have never of guessed. Thanks for the info, the thoughts, and wherever your muse takes us. It's always fascinating.

  4. Interesting post, and I learned something... :-) Of course being from Louisiana, our 'mountains' are bridges... :-)

    1. Heh. Bridges as mountains. Having driven around down there, I so get that!


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