Paradise and Entropy

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It has not gone without observation that the 2nd law of Thermodynamics (Entropy, things tend towards disorder) can typically be observed in all areas of life. I know some would argue a narrower application by the definition, and that to some, such things really matter.

Entropy predicts that all energy available to do work will ultimately be spent, at which point the universe becomes one even temperature ("heat death"), and no one will particularly care as we will have left the scene long before. Nevertheless, it's a sticky point as many find or reject the theological implications as it brings about questions of destiny as well as origin. If all the usable energy is being depleted, then there must have been a point when the gas tank was full. Nevertheless, I'm quite comfortable with taking everyday observations and saying, "yep, entropy!"

Examples? Light-bulbs fail (which, by the way, I could swear never happened when I was a kid), lawnmower blades become dull, death as a process ultimately begins at conception, socks become worn through, book pages become yellow, model Republics become victims of enabled greed, etc. Each requires additional energy into the system for them to be maintained or returned to proper working order, else... disorder remains.

Yardwork fits neatly into this observation. I mean, aside from peer pressure and neighborhood association covenants, what's the point of mowing the yard? You're just going to have to do it again. Exaggeration, yes, but it's an expense of heat energy for no ultimate gain.

My father-in-law crafted our back yard. I didn't appreciate how much work he put into it until after we bought his house and lived in it for over a year. The "clean" deck as he maintained it requires considerable expense of heat energy, thanks to numerous trees which share not only their shade but their droppings. The back yard, a sloping 30' drop to a river, requires constant attention to prevent weeds, new trees, vines, falling debris, etc. from taking over what was handed to us as... a very beautiful backyard.

Arriving home yesterday from work, I heard a storm was coming and looked at the radar map. There was a big dark red splotch (hello, storm cell!) just north of where we lived. Whew, just missed us!

Then I clicked the motion button. The red spot wasn't skirting us; it was about to find its home on top of us. Within a minute, it was raining. In two, 1/4" hail. In three, we're gathered in our basement watching through a sliding glass door as the trees criss-cross the sky in the high winds, hail is pinging off the metal side door, and various objects (limbs, leaves, cows and other livestock) fly by. Enter the fresh scent of pine, resulting from mass breakage of limbs typically due to, depending on the season, ice or wind. Imagine a bulk container of PineSol being dumped in your yard.

And leaves too: The leaves and small limbs in our front yard actually began their journey from our backyard, and came over the house.

We got leafed!:

Our lower deck, aka the leaf basket:

The day after. Keep in mind that the day before, there was a little undergrowth, but the ground was still predominantly brown from pine needles and leaves from last fall.

We were fortunate not to take damage to the house. Our yard is truly wrecked, and I do not even want to think about the hours and expense that awaits in returning to Paradise. I'd rather puzzle over entropy and use the required energy instead on, oh, air-conditioning will be just fine.

Three quick observations:
1) There's nothing like a storm and a loss of power to meet your neighbors. The streets were alive within minutes of the storm's passing.
2) No power, no readily available food. Out we go, over branches, under trees resting on power lines, dodging fallen debris in the roads... for what? Well, a good meal, but one accompanied by TVs at each table (where, as it happens, our neighborhood would be featured later). But what evil lurks in the heart of a suburban restaurant? The finals for American Idol. Heat death, where are you?
3) Upon our return, it's amazing how tired everyone can become when there is no electrically generated entertainment available. Off to bed goes the family. I did enjoy some time in the dark, stretched out on the leather recliner, with my i-Pod. The highlight of the shuffle play, before interest faded to yawns, was "A Song for All Seasons," by a 70's progrock band called Renaissance. Recommended for the adventurous with an ear to listen.

1 comment :

  1. You have no idea how worried I was about you and the family. I am so glad you are safe! I would offer to help with the yard work, but, well... American Idol is on! ;)

    I will put an ear out for that song...