What a full weekend! Saturday I went with Arvind to the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill.
We saw their presentation entitled "Life in the Universe." It was pretty cool. I hadn't been to a planetarium in ages...not since grade school, I think. Griffith Observatory in L.A. is pretty kick-butt, however it is closed for renovation indefinitely. Anyway, the experience is somewhat similar to IMAX, in that your field of vision is incredibly large. The film discussed whether life on other planets is feasible, from a chemical perspective. We saw lots of molecule models dancing around on the screen. I think I might enjoy "Carolina Skies" better...more stars, less scientific narrative. But it was a fun thing to do on a Saturday afternoon. The highlight was getting a pressed penny. Being the nerd that I am, I collect these. Unfortunately, being the unemployed oaf that I am, my mind has taken what I hope is not a permanent vacation, and I used the machine incorrectly. Long story, not worth explaining. Suffice it to say, I felt like a rah-rah, but the coin turned out okay I guess, just not the design I'd originally wanted.
Afterwards we strolled along Franklin Street. The wind was biting cold, and there was occasional drizzle, but the area was bustling with people. The UNC campus is very stately...I bet it's beautiful in the spring. Or summer. Or fall.
Sunday I woke up to an absolutely gorgeous day. No more clouds or drizzle, but instead a glorious blue sky and a strong sun. Perfect day for a scenic drive! Arvind and I went to Jordan Lake, which is about 20 minutes west of where we live in Apex. I pass by it every time I visit my parents in Pittsboro, but have never stopped. On a clear, sunny day like Sunday, the water is a gorgeous blue, and although many of the trees are now dead brown sticks, some of them are evergreens so they have that going for them.
We parked in the nearly-empty lot and strolled down through the trees to the beach. There were picnic benches and a designated swimming area, and even a shelter with a stone fireplace.
I bet this place is hopping on summer weekends. We drove deeper into the park and walked around one of the campground areas that was open. I imagine that would be a very relaxing place to camp...great views of the water, not many people around. And of course by "camp," I mean, "in an RV." The sites appeared to offer electric and water hookups...all the comforts of home. My favorite part was the smell of the campfires. I wish they made a camera that could capture smells.
The forest was very peaceful. Nothing but the sound of the breeze in the trees. The temperature was chilly but with the sun blazing it was definitely manageable.
I can't wait to see everything in the spring and summer...it must be so beautiful and green. That was pretty much my mantra this weekend: must be so much prettier in the spring, summer, or fall. Everything is so unattractive in the winter. Dead brown sticks aren't exactly scenic. Unless you like the stark, barren look. I prefer lush and verdant.
That said, I do try and find something to appreciate about every experience. And when you start thinking about it, there was a lot to be grateful for. I was not alone, but rather had top notch company. I got to take lots of pictures. I got to explore an area while it was more or less vacant, so when I return I will know where to go. And even in the dead of winter, nature does afford bountiful opportunties to find beauty.