The Radiation Fumigation

Summer and the Radiation Moon

Not far from the Chicago Art Museum, angle across the park, head south and cross Lakeshore Drive to the triangle that contains the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, and the Field Museum of Natural History. I used to take Joseph there when he was younger.

At the time there was an exhibition room in the Field that featured the ENIAC*, an early computer. It was huge. Seeing the computer itself, I learned the origin of the term, bug. It meant, bug. As in, a bug crawled onto one of the vacuum tubes and died. Oh. You can see how that might cause trouble. Based on my experience, it’s a wonder there wasn’t a second category of computer problems, cat.

The ENIAC and its 17,468 vacuum tubes came to me today because my radiation treatment didn’t happen. Why? Yesterday afternoon, a patient sat in a chair in the reception area. He noticed a bug. Said he’d seen them before and knew what it was. A bed bug. A bed bug! Yep, as you know, they’re back. And, they’ve made it to the Rockies.

Fumigation of the radiation. That’s happening now. Things should be back to go tomorrow. Weird, eh?

*Housed within 40 9-foot-tall cabinets, the machine contained 17,468 vacuum tubes along with 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors, 1,500 relays, 6,000 manual switches, and 5 million soldered joints. Its dimensions covered 1,800 square feet (167 square meters) of floor space and weighed 30 tons, and running it consumed 160 kilowatts of electrical power. Two 20-horsepower blowers delivered cool air to keep the machine from overheating.


Summer and the Radiation Moon

An orange disc slipped up between two cumulus clouds, darkening one and throwing rusty beams on the other, the Radiation Moon. We drove home from MVP. Up Brook Forest Drive.

At the curve before Upper Maxwell Creek the moon rise showed itself in the cleft of Shadow Mountain. These vignettes, available and free for those who choose to see, give us a glimpse into the wonder, the beauty, the power, the mystery of our universe. Those who knew it as caterpillar may not recognize the butterfly.

The middot of that night’s meeting was awe. Yirah. Often translated, especially in Christian translations of the “old testament” (doesn’t feel old when it’s ever present in the life of CBE) as fear. Fear of the Lord is a common phrase, usually meaning faith.

Marc Chagall

“We are to love God. Can we love that which we fear? Stockholm Syndrome. Can we love that which is distant? What is love? Are we in some way held in relationship by fear? What does that say about our relationship with God?” Susan offered several provocative ideas for discussion. We left-my stomach made me do it-before the conversation got to this set of questions.

Sent this note to Susan about them: “Awe is the main driver of my (small r) religious life. I experience awe looking up at Black Mountain, down at the Columbine, when I eat, the true transubstantiation, when I see others, knowing their inner life is as rich as mine, but hidden. Awe begets gratitude. Gratitude begets simplicity. Enough for me.”

And so it is.