I never tire of taking people into the tower and am happiest showing that really special kid, who’s always the first one up the steps behind me, the wonders I’ve discovered at the top, which is a lot about the bulb, or in fact, the real light. It is a 1000-watt light bulb. Before the rest of the crowd gets to the top landing, this kid is there and eager and I tell them they can take two steps up the roped off stair that leads into the lens so that they can see up into the opening. They peer in and see what appears to be an ordinary looking, rather bright bulb. Then they look back at me and as I begin to speak they look back into the inside of the eight-foot tall first order Fresnel lens, and I say:
And because of the way the lens is designed around this small source of light, with 284 pieces of cut lead crystal, put together in just such a way that the light from this single bulb is refracted into a powerful beam of light which can be seen for 30 miles and even farther, but for the curvature of the earth.
I hate to venture into what I might make of the symbolism. My dad would have a field day composing his next children’s sermon given the religious and spiritual parallels not to mention the simple humanistic ones. But, on some level, I think they get it. At least I’m sure it’s obvious to them what the repercussions and consequences potentially are of a single small event, and that what we do to harness the power and energy of a small source and by the knowledge of invention, build on it to capitalize on the source and magnify it.
One day we’ll see this done with the tides. There’s often wind, but there are always tides.
I’ve not flushed a toilet all summer. (Well maybe a couple of times on a Wednesday on the mainland.) Why aren’t composting toilets used on a larger scale? Is the fertilizer industry that strong? Could they see ahead of the curve enough to branch into human waste management? It could probably be processed for fuel and maybe bricks to build homes. It just seems to me, and I may be way off base, that one day our society will be viewed with derision and disgust for the cavalier way in which we flush our waste into the worlds finite and limited fresh water supply, and they will wonder in awe as to how we could be so stupid and careless and thoughtless. That day will come when society seriously assumes the responsibility of the stewardship of nature and the environment and thereby the earth itself.