ominous beacon on the mountain
Saturday, February 25 2012
I went over to Ray and Nancy's place this evening to check in on their cat Francis (they'd gone to Mexico for a week). Francis is sort of like the Loch Ness Monster most of the time; you hear about her but you never actually see her. Today, though, she was lounging on an upstairs bed. She looks like a fatter-faced version of our cat Nigel. I tried to hang out with her by saddling up nearby with a Icehouse beer in one hand and a textbook about short range wireless technology in the other. But she would have none of it, and scurried off somewhere else. So I went down to the living room to hang out with Sally and Eleanor (whom I had brought). The house was cold and a powerful wind was howling outside, making ghostly moans through the imperfect seals of the windows. I put a blanket on Eleanor to keep her warm. Sally, who is less fussy about cold, kerplopped somewhere on the floor, but the boredom eventually got to her and she started pacing around in that uncomfortable stiff-legged arthritic gait she now has. I managed to hang out for about an hour or so, long enough to give Gretchen some alone time.
I'd set up a multicolor LED bulb on the solar deck pointed directly at the Esopus Valley community of Riverside Park (41.914254N, 74.078193W, about a half mile south of Ray and Nancy's place). So while I was out, I drove down to the place along Old 209 where a foreground ridge (41.924712N, 74.088063W is finally out of the way and there is a direct view to the part of Hurley Mountain where our house is. And sure enough, on that otherwise black and foreboding expanse of mountain, was a single color-changing beacon. Anyone who didn't know what it was would have been perplexed (and perhaps even afraid). It's amazing that a two watt LED can broadcast a bright beam of light so far (in this case, about two miles). It's also amazing that, at that distance, no other electrical lights were visible from our neighborhood.
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