Dream of the Dragon

Private eyes.

by Justin

Painted into the side of an outdoor grill by oxidation and the elements:

I can’t be the only one who sees it.

This afternoon three tiny birds panicked their way out from beneath my apartment, transforming into sharp black dots flitting over the fields of snow. Evidently the building, built as a barracks sometime around 1941, isn’t keeping itself sealed up against the local wildlife.

The summit of Bragg Peak.

by Justin

A particle physicist, when asked by me to explain the genesis of a particular innovation in radiation therapy, decided it was best to start at the beginning. In this instance, said beginning took place on a very busy chalkboard, filled with inscrutable equations and half-erased diagrams. Layer upon layer competed for attention. With a full and slightly unkempt head of gray hair, the man sketched a basic line graph, illustrating depth v. dose level.

The point isn’t this venerable man of science’s patience or enthusiasm, it was his immediate instinct to provide a visual and go to the board. Back in school already.

He walked me through a Bragg peak, the extraordinary phenomenon that renders proton therapy (as one example) so vastly superior to x-ray therapy. This is the basic drawing, though lacking the charm of a chalkboard where each inch of real estate is won by haphazardly erasing with the palm of one’s hand.

Safety first.

by Justin

Last night three leaves approached me from three different directions, each gliding across the concrete on independent winds.

At least a dozen deer rose out of darkness at once, shocking the dog into unbridled madness as they vanished into the distant tree-line. Just above them, a decommissioned fission reactor’s tower blinked red.

The Department of Energy, contrary to what you may think, takes safety very, very seriously.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how the modern professional prepare’s for his first day on the job:

Nicole thought we should celebrate my birthday with haphazard fort-building and a slumber party. It was, despite the quality of sleep, absolutely the right call.