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.
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?!
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?