All aboard. People I very much appreciate:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Recombinant Construction

[Norma photos]

Recombinant is a word denoting an organism, cell, or genetic material formed by recombination --a geneticist's word reserved for describing living things. I use it to describe my house and detect no conflict in definition. For the past month and a half my wife and I have been repairing, rewiring, rebuilding and painting our house after calculating it was, after many decades, composed mainly of spackle and caulk. House and I share the same birth year, 1949, and some years ago it was found that I too was mainly spackle and caulk and had to be gone over. I'm all better now but it's the house's turn.

When we moved here we were a young family needing space to air out the children. We found an old farmhouse with tumbled walls and rotten roof, so we got to work and made it livable. It was a great ambition, full of light and hope. By and by it more closely resembled a dark passage lit by guttering cressets. Still, a photon is a photon. Photons are quanta of light, tiny violations of matter-energy conservation laws because they have no lower energy limit. Strong ones poop out quick. Weak ones carry information from one end of the universe to the other. They are anomalies, like thought, which must also have no lower energy limit because we thought we could finish the house in a year or two.

Thirty years later, we're still at it. We ran out of money oftener than energy. We'd stop and scavenge, happy to fossick around in other peoples' rubble to find what we needed. Or we'd whittle and embellish what we'd already done. I include photos, some examples of those whittley times, preserved under Norma's fresh paint, to mark our ancient progress like light from distant stars.

Sometimes I look at a huge beam in the barn roof, an added room on the house, or concave route of an underground pipeline and wonder, how the heck did I do that? Oh I know I was younger and full of strength and ingenuity but still, how the heck did I do that? In recombinant inquiry one thinks and feels, designs better ways to do a better job. One prospects for materials, strength and solutions. The same question applies to the mineral prospector who learns geology, engineering and technology. Does he or she have more claim upon success than the merely lucky prospector who just digs a heel into earth and finds gold? Precisely! I don't know either.


  1. Lovely! Both the images and the writing!
    Feliz aniversário!

  2. lmao! And great details on the house- that's beauty. Happy Recombinant Holidays!

  3. Obrigado Austan, e o Feliz Natal!


I value your comments. Say hello. Reach out a bit. I do.