Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Building blocks; chickens and atoms

I've often talked about growing up on a ranch in the Texas hill country. It was a wonderful experience, and one that made me who I am today.




At some point I was old enough for chores on our ranch, and my parents gave me the responsibility of closing up the chicken coop at night. During the day, the chickens roamed free throughout the barnyard, but at sunset, rain or shine, they never failed to automatically all file into their pen to huddle together in the darkness.



So, around dusk, every night, I mounted my shiny blue ten-speed with its blue & white woven basket, pretending it was my horse, and pedaled half a mile across the ranch by myself to close the pen and lock the chickens up.



The special chicken wire that framed the chicken coop kept snakes from getting to the chickens at night. I used to be terrified I’d run into a snake but it never happened. Closing the chicken coop was my chore, and I did it, even if I did pedal back as fast as those wheels could turn, my ponytail streaming behind me, certain that snakes, or the boogeyman my brother told me lived in the barn, was chasing after me.



Back then I was impressed with those chickens and how smart they were to go to safety every night, but now, as an adult, I realize how wrong I was. Those chickens weren’t smart at all. They were stupid to file brainlessly into a cage each night, reliant on others to ensure their safety. What would they do if we forgot to shut their pen? They’d die. They had no survival skills.

Stupid chickens.

But, keeping them alive, insured continuous egg laying, and we ate those eggs. So, they were useful. and, probably most importantly, I learned responsibility and courage, which were building blocks in molding my core values and attitude.


Today I read in the news about the largest subatomic particle super collider in Geneva, Switzerland conducting it's first test today. It's underground tunnels are 17 miles long, making up a massive underground ring hidden beneath farmland. The test today fired two protons clockwise and then later counterclockwise through the 17 mile tunnel, whizzing around at close to the speed of light. It's mind boggling.


The scientists hope to eventually send two proton beams through the tunnel going opposite directions so that they will collide and hopefully recreate conditions a split second after the big bang, which scientists theorize was the massive explosion that created the universe. It is likely this experiment could reveal more about "dark matter," antimatter and possibly hidden dimensions of space and time. It could also find evidence of the hypothetical particle — the Higgs boson — which is sometimes called the "God particle" because it is believed to give mass to all other particles, and thus to matter that makes up the universe.

Am I baking your noodle yet?

These are the building blocks of our universe they're studying and manipulating, to discover more about this wild world and the universe. It's fascinating. It leads me to question, what if we do figure it out? Could we then create our own planets? Galaxies? Universes?!

Mind boggling.

Back to my original thought though, we all know some of the building blocks of our own character and person. But some we don't, leading to the whole nurture versus nature and other arguments. What are some of your building blocks? What events most shaped who you are or who had a big impact on the person you've become?

38 comments:

Kat said...

You are so deep lately. Except for when you tease me about upcoming posts. And then it's not so deep. It's just wrong. :-)

I was wondering where the chicken coop was going to meet up with the beams. I get it. I like the nuture vs. nature debates. I think it's both. We are the products of our genes and our households.

As far as impactful - for a positive impact, I would say the love of learning that was instilled in me at an early age. To read, love learning, and valuing education can take you anywhere you want to go.

sassy stephanie said...

So, you loved it, right? Tell me you loved it. Ya know, since I left the burbs to join the Kuntry life. My kids will soon be may little slaves. ha ha

scargosun said...

Geology 101 in college. It was not your typical "Rocks for Jocks". I had this amazing teacher who opened up worlds for me. Geology taught me to see things in a very different light, like about the global changes that have happened over and over again billions of years ago. It amazed me and led to my interest in the field. Am I a Geologist by trade, nope but it does connect with me in some way just about every day.

mommaof4wife2r said...

rhea...love this post! ur pics (noted well of course) were fab! i love the farm...we have a family farm, but we are city dwellers...sub division life is our place for now.

what made me, me...hmmm...def structure and love of my parents and fam. faith is a huge one. i was always taught i could do anything...so i still think i can. two ears and one mouth...listen twice as much. and, let's see...oh, yea, eat your feelings...you'll feel better.

Britt said...

Consider my noodle officially baked .. my hubs was telling me about that last night, all excited with his hands waving. He asked, "Do you know what this means?!?" and I said .. "Nope" He continued talking anyway, and I had to tune him out. It was hurting my brain trying to understand lol.

My parents had huge influence over who I am today .. but over time their influence has been diluted throughout my life. I am who I am .. because I am? It's a big debate in my head, actually. I don't know who my bio dad is, and I'm so different from the rest of my family in so many ways .. yet so similar. I find myself wondering often how much of me is nature and how much is nurture.

I get quite a bit of pleasure knowing that I am who I am, and that there is only one of me. I'm the only one with my combo of parent DNA. Makes me feel quite special :o) My husband is the same way, so together we make quite the 'special' pair lol. ;o)

Jyl @ MommyGossip said...

I've seen you around on comments and decided to come and check out your blog when I saw you in the WW group. So glad that I did. I love your deep thoughts.

My grandma grew up on a cattle ranch. I always loved hearing her stories, which were so different from my suburban upbringing.

As far as the things that have shaped me... traveling for sure. Of course, there is more, but traveling, especially doing so at such a young age, really opened my eyes to different cultures, perspectives, and helped me see that the world of difference around me was good and valid and similar and different and absolutely worth celebrating! I wrote a post recently that included a lot of my thoughts on it. You can read more there if you are interested:

http://mommygossip.blogspot.com/2008/09/serious-sundayhow-do-i-teach-culture-to.html

I am excited to read more of your posts!

Karen said...

Really interesting post.... I was wondering where you were going with the particle thingimmyjing... :-)

My grandmother was the person who most shaped me as I am now. Her unconditional love, in those early years, kept me going when life went to hell in a hand basket.

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

mind boggling and amazing!!
We went to my grandma's farm every Sun and had chores similiar to yours - LOVED to collect eggs. HATED to (kill) butcher, pluck etc chickens! Loved the horses and all the other stuff, hated to walk beans and detassle corn! Hated the garden - but it has made me appreciate so much more today!! I LOVE my childhood and am so happy for it!!

Jennifer and Sandi said...

Deep...Very Deep....

I think what really changed/molded my life was living in Mexico for 4 years, owning a 40 acre horse ranch with 14 trail horses and giving "tourist" horseback rides up in the mountains/beach. Then surviving a hurricane 2 weeks before our moving semi was coming to get our furniture. Hurricanes in a third world country are NOT pretty. Then next would be getting divorced after 17 yrs and being on my own now for 3 years. That's been a life changing event for me!! BUT I LOVE IT!!

Loved your ranch!

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!!
- Jennifer

Mrs. S said...

how is your job search going??

Good N Crazy said...

Wow girl, um...going to take me a minute to respond to this one...

I LOVE your chicken story.

Valarie said...

I would have to say my Daddy and the values he instilled in me. Taking me to Church teaching me about God and Jesus. When I asked Jesus into my heart, I knew that I would always have someone to turn to, to help me out. Now some people may call my Faith a crutch, but those people have not experience the life changing power that God has. I have seen it, I have felt it, I have lived it. So God, Jesus, and my Daddy have had the biggest impact on my live.

Genesis 1
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Live.Love.Eat said...

While I don't have a quick answer to your question, I HAVE to say that picture of you is adorable. You look so sweet & innocent and I can totally see the lady with the pink hat in those eyes. Love the bike :)

Jennifer and Sandi said...

Oh, Oh, Oh.....thanks for turning us onto Picnik!!!!!!!! What a fun photo editor!!!

YOU ROCK!!

- Jennifer

Insane Mama said...

Awesome thoughts Rhea, are you entering a new phase of life or something? I believe that my parents taught me by showing me how important familt life really is.

Katie said...

Those chickens are geniuses, man. They've evolved to the point where they've duped us into doing everything for them. They don't need survival skills. Brilliant!

Susie said...

My entire life has been shaped by a reaction to my mother. Every major decision, emotion, thought has been guided by the fact that I did not want to be here. It wasn't until recently that I have broken away from that and started to form my own person. I guess it was right around the time I found my passion. It's like emotional purging...out with the crap to let in the good.

Justine said...

The second you stopped talking about chickens, you lost me! ROFL!
Who or what shaped who I am today? I think that honor goes mostly to my paternal grandparents. My best childhood memories were our big Italian Sunday dinners in the afternoon. Either at our house, or grandma's. We never just ate a big plate of pasta. Oh no, that would not be a meal! First it was pasta, then some sort of meat or chicken. After that, espresso, fruit and candy was put out. After that, regular coffee and cake. Ah, the memories!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, this gave me a sense of family values. Although this tradition died with my grandparents, the memories are always there, and family time is always special to me.

Justine :o )

Jen said...

You seem to be very thoughtful lately.
I think the turning point in my life was in high school, when I changed schools to stand on my own and stopped hiding behind my friends. It was when I found myself, my love and career. It was a very big year.

Munchkins and Music said...

Cool post. It looks so beautiful there.

ann said...

Lot goin' on here today. Deep thoughts, big important questions. Building blocks? Being allowed/forced to 'rise to the occasion.'

Shannon said...

I think a turning point for me was my senior year of high school. I was dating a boy who I really thought was "the one"... we had been together on and off since 8th grade. But one night we did "it" (1st time for both of us) and from then on, our relationship just went wrong. He became jealous and abusive. I think mainly because we were both too young and immature to handle what we were doing. Anyway I put up with his crap for almost 6 months until I finally realized I was worth more than that and I did not deserve to be treated the way I was being treated by him.

Jeff B said...

Even if the Big Bang were true, the one nagging question is, "Who then, created the atoms for the initial explosion?"

Riddle me that Batman.

Tiffany said...

I love that ranch. It's like my dream.

But, I am in So Cal suberbia in my 3000 sq ft cookie cutter on a tiny lot.

But, I am blessed and will bloom where I am planted.

What I wouldn't give for that creek.

Loving parents who encourage me to follow my heart and let me be who I really was... that made me who I am today.

Mrs. S said...

Good luck with the B&N job opportunity. That would be a GREAT place to work!

AVTCOACH said...

Great post. Over from Wordful Wednesday. I would say there were a handful of adults who gave me leadership opportunities and encouraged me. My parents were encouraging. My mom valued the gifts of the elderly and I learned to learn all I can from those with wisdom from living.

whatloknows said...

Hey, my first visit to your blog. Pretty cool.

Interesting post.

Chow.

Captain Dumbass said...

Wife-turned me into a man (and no, not THAT way).

Children-turned me into a father.

___ -who taught me I wasn't dead yet.

J-who helped me understand that it's ok to put yourself first sometimes, that it's ok to ask for help.

Sorry Rhea, I'm like doing self-help in your comments, sheesh!

Coby said...

What a gorgeous place to be able to grow up in! I can't tell ya how much I enjoyed your lil tour there. I think my favorite was the creek! I vivsited a small town in the Hill Country that looked like that. I think the name of the city was Hunt Texas or something like that. The Mo Ranch was there and it was positively the most charming place ever. Hats off! Ciao! We are getting wet in San Antonio this weekend so stay dry! Bad IKE bad IKE!!!!!!

Living on the Spit said...

You were (are) so friggin adorable. I love those cheeks! The chicken post was great and if those dudes make a black hole with that big bang thing, I am gonna be really ticked off...LOL, but anyway, my beloved daddy was my building block and I refer to him on a daily basis, even though he doesn't answer back, I sometimes pretend I have my own guardian angel now guiding me in life.

Gledwood said...

What a glorious post; I grew up (teenage years though not childhood) in the countryside as well.

Hey what do you think of Sarah Palin for President (let's face it, when McCain gets in he'll die then she'll be in the Whitehouse)...

... I always thought those Democrats should have gone for Hillary over Obama. Now they're getting their just deserts in the form of the moose burger lady!!

Indy said...

What a post! I would say that my mom working impacted me a great deal. Not sure if it was good or bad. I decided to stay at home and be the best mom I could be. It has changed my life in a way I never expected. Great question.

Mama Dawg said...

I'm so stumped with this one. I can't think of a single incident that helped to mold me. My mom certainly had a hand in molding me, so maybe mine's a person rather than an experience. Hmmm.......

Lula! said...

Great post, Rhea! You have been very introspective this week, I must say. I like it!

Hmmmm...building blocks...Jesus, my family, my husband, my girls, books, music. Some of that sounds rather shallow, but it's all true.

angie said...

Wow Rhea. I love how you shared childhood memories and what you learned from then and then interweaved current events and tied them together with the original thought. I loved the childhood pictures!

-Bridget said...

What a well done post. Such fun to read and go on the journey you've taken us down.

I have two girls as different as night and day, despite the same upbringing so I believe our personality is largely defined by nature. But I believe it is the nurture part that hones that personality and depending on how we are raised, we hopefully learn to embrace our strengths while understanding and working on our weaknesses. Without that, I think our weaknesses can take over and become too much of who we are.

My foundation was pretty shaky being built on sand for a lot of my childhood. But it was surviving those trials that built a more solid foundation underfoot, brick by brick, and made me who I am today.

i beati said...

so many meories so many parts to everyone sandy

Sudeepta said...

Awesome pictures and home also thanks for posting.
Welcome to Centex HuntClub Hog Hunting