Convection

anvil-cloud-600x400

/kənˈvekSH(ə)n/ noun: the movement caused within a fluid by the tendency of hotter and therefore less dense material to rise, and colder, denser material to sink under the influence of gravity, which consequently results in transfer of heat.”           Google 

“In the beginning, when God created the universe, the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water. Then God commanded, ‘Let there be light’ (…)”       Genesis 1:1-3

If     before the beginning     something
had not yet appeared from nothing     how did
nothing manage to imbibe the god’s breath
that marked the beginning of creation
(particularly since before there was something
there surely wouldn’t have been things
such as gods or breaths)? 

For that matter     out of what non-thing
was said sudden cloud burped
into the slate gray chaos that hung
in a sky that couldn’t have been there     but was
ostensibly sandwiched tidily between
the turbulent     blue water (we’ll address that later)
& the gauzier ‘ether’ that was not yet the air
for the deities who were not yet themselves?

& if     in the beginning (as the story goes)
those twin neonates     formlessness & desolation
comprised everything
that was    at the time     nothing
from where     for the love of sanity
did that ‘raging ocean’ arise? 

I mean     of the untold passions we might’ve presumed
preceded all extant matter & manner of cognizance
why did we dream up an ocean     & infuse it
with fulmination     only then to have it (not) be
‘engulfed in total darkness’     as if to deflect
attention from how much we were trying to make
out of a whole bunch of nothing?

Aside from being a bit fishy
the story does lend itself rather poorly
to proper revelation     no doubt
amounting to the non-existent body of water in question
being (or    more precisely   not-being) rightfully fraught
that antiquity could do no better than to liken it—
in its purported (not to mention impossible)
shared subsistence with nothing—
to Phorkys     the weedy-bearded progenitor of the gorgons…

Is it any wonder
the artists should depict
so much transference of hot air
as the white wisp of a ship
vanishing in the distant mist?

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

Stormy Sea

This thought experiment was inspired by the (impressively copious) weather satellite video loops of convection clouds popping into existence, which my son has been tracking down online and sharing with me… just another example of the uncountable, humbling insights into the natural world that I’m sure would have failed to blip on my radar, if not for his beautiful influence.

An earlier version of “Convection” appeared on this blog in Summer 2016.

Convection

This thought experiment was inspired by the (impressively copious) weather satellite video loops of convection clouds popping into existence, which my son has been tracking down online and sharing with me… just another example of the uncountable, humbling insights into the natural world that I’m sure would have failed to blip on my radar, if not for his beautiful influence.

Stormy Sea

Yaroslav Gerzhedovich’s Stormy Sea, courtesy of Google Images

/kənˈvekSH(ə)n/ noun: the movement caused within a fluid by the tendency of hotter and therefore less dense material to rise, and colder, denser material to sink under the influence of gravity, which consequently results in transfer of heat.”

“In the beginning, when God created the universe, the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water. Then God commanded, ‘Let there be light’ (…)” Genesis 1:1-3

If     before the beginning
something had not yet appeared from
nothing
how did
nothing
manage     without lungs no less
to take in that convection of a god’s breath
that marked the beginning of creation
(particularly since before there was something
there surely wouldn’t have been things
such as gods or breathing)?

For that matter     out of what non-thing
was said sudden cloud burped
into the foggy     slate gray chaos
that hung     but didn’t
in a sky that couldn’t have been there     but was
ostensibly sandwiched tidily between
the turbulent     blue water
(we’ll address that later)
& the gauzier     brighter     frothier ether
that was not yet the air for the deities
who were not yet themselves?

& if     in the beginning
(as the story goes)
those twin neonates
formlessness & desolation
comprised everything
(however antithetical to actual substance)
that was spontaneously no longer
nothing

from where     for the love of sanity     did that ocean arise?

& why (never mind how)     pray tell     was it raging?

Of the untold passions
we might’ve presumed preceded
all extant matter & manner of cognizance
why did we resort to imagining rage?

Do we unknowingly float
upon the ocean’s foamy resentment
at the resonant indignity of not yet
being not
nothing
but still getting scapegoated for concealing
the primordially shapeless absences of
nothing
with its own nothingness
(unjustly condemned for the volition & malice
that nonbeing precluded it from possessing)
even as it     itself     was entirely concealed
in the total darkness we all know is really
just another way of saying a whole lot of
nothing?

To wit     aside from being a bit fishy
the story does lend itself rather poorly
to proper revelation
amounting     no doubt
to the non-existent body of water in question
being (or more precisely not-being)
rightfully fraught
that antiquity could do no better
than to liken it in myth—
in its purported (not to mention impossible)
shared subsistence with
nothing
before the beginning began—
to Phorcys     the weedy-bearded
progenitor of the gorgons…

Is it any wonder the artists should depict
this mystic transference of hot air
as the wisp of a ship
dissolving into the mist?

STEPHANIE L. HARPER