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This pictures tell the story of the past month.

Starting off in Hawaii (not a bad place to start), the itneraction between new rock and everything else is overpowering. In this case, the interaction was with a tree. The flowing lava hits a tree and builds up on the uphill side. The lava that touches the tree, cools instantly, leaving an imprint of the bark on the lava. After a while, the lava subsides, the tree dries out and burns, and a tree mold like this is what is left. Some still have burned wood inside.
Then, for a closer look at moving lava. The guidebook says that you never know how seeing lava is going to affect people, and that pretty much says it all. Plus, in Hawaii, Hawaiian shirts don't look so silly (ps, I don't know who the guy is, but I know he hikes slow). Earth building is a lot of things, but mostly just not like anything else.

After reflection on what it would be like to live in a tropical paradise, it was back to our northern abode. You really can't imagine what it is like to leave a place that is 80F and end up in a place that is -40F. Lots of potential for reflection on the possibilities of air travel, but functioning at -40 keeps you on your toes and focused on the task at hand. Of course, physical reflection can be used to determine the insulation value of a window...the more reflections you see, the higher the R-value.

On the advice of my "friend" John (some of you may know him), I tried blowing bubbles below -20F. It's cool, neat things happen, but instead of reflecting on the physics of bubbles, life, or anything else (like why don't they make a bubble wand or camera you can use with mittens), all you can think about is the pain in your fingers. Except for a little continuing figure pain, hindsight and the photographs indicate it is actually neat.

As nice (and cheap and forgiving) as a tropical paradise can be, winter loving people belong in the north, regardless of how ice covered we get....

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