Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Making Rain

I'm looking outside through a pane of trickling raindrops.  Grass is the color of Irish green and looks lush and healthy.  Dandelions are making their presence, and, as I've said before, I like dandelions.  If they had been named Sun Circles, perhaps they wouldn't be considered such pests.

I'm off to my book discussion this morning.  The book the two of us are reading is "Elsewhere" by Gabrielle Zevin.  The author offers a new spin on life after death.  Instead of aging like we do on earth, the dead person ages backward in Elsewhere, back to the baby stage.....at which point it is sent back to earth to start life all over again as someone else.

In these discussions we tackle the book in thirds, so today we discuss the first 86 pages.  The fun part is getting a 7th grader's spin on a book.  "Elsewhere" so far isn't ringing my bell, and I'd have hoped by now the book would have piqued more of my interest.  But, that's the intrigue of reading and sharing thoughts about a book.  Two minds can interpret the same book far differently.  So it is that I anxiously await our half-hour of thought sharing.

Yesterday we took our new vehicle back to the dealership for its 2,000-mile service.  We were surprised when the mechanic handed us the service printout and said, "This one is on the house."  Not too many things are done for free these days.  Of course, it's not like we didn't pay for it when we bought the vehicle.  Still, it was a nice gesture.

The waters of the Mighty Mississippi have gone down since the flood stage a week or so ago.  Back waters are still higher than usual, but the dangers of flooding have passed.  Sandbags remain proof of human fears of high waters.  One question we had as we drove by the river is why the high water doesn't erode the railroad tracks that are so near the river's edge.

Rain is Mother Nature's best lesson in recycling its resources.   A fun experiment to do with kids is to "make rain." (www.essortment.com/kids-weather-rain-facts-57126.html)  Here's what you do:
  1. Fill a glass about half full of water.
  2. Cover the glass tightly with plastic wrap.
  3. Put a rubber band around the glass to hold the wrap in place.  Make sure there are no holes in the wrap over the top of the glass.
  4. Put the glass of water in the refrigerator.
  5. Wait one or two hours and check the glass.  When you see water droplets on the inside of the glass on the plastic, you know your experiment is working.  The longer you wait, the more water droplets will form.  You can even wait until the next day.
  6. When you see plenty of droplets, take the glass out of the refrigerator and set it on the table or counter, or some other place where it won't be in the way. 
  7. The water has evaporated up to the top of the glass where the plastic is.  The plastic is like the clouds.  Soon, as the glass starts to warm up, the plastic will have more water than it can hold onto, and the drops will rain back into the glass.
You just made rain!