Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What does a "nacelle" have to do with focus and fitness?

From a tiny "sliver" in the sky to airliner, 
courtesy of the camera lens.
A passenger jet was cruising at altitude, far above our Island home the other day. And, for once, the camera was handy. Despite the Canon's impressive "image stabilization" ability, it's a hand-held shot, quickly"grabbed", and it's admittedly not very clear - but then the aircraft was probably flying at close to 40,000 feet.

What is clear in the image, however, are the four individual nacelles, the aerodynamic cowling, or housing, that surrounds each of the four jet engines. The almost-spherical shape of their leading edge is very distinctive in the picture. Of course, the long, 35X lens did more than assist. It's the lens that makes such an image possible. To the naked eye, the aircraft appeared simply to be a tiny "sliver" in the sky, followed by its white, expanding vapour trails, stretching across the expanse of blue.

Wing and leading "edge" of an engine nacelle, no special lens needed this time.
Lest anyone think that this blog is going to morph into "tales from a 'reconfigured' life", nope, not going to do that - at least not too often. Having said that, when you make or undergo any significant change in life, you sometimes have to employ a new "lens" - or make sure to have handy the tried and trusted old ones. The lens, of course, whether it is in the glasses we wear, or a camera we enjoy using, is there in part, to magnify and assist with focus.

Just as the nature photographer may employ a "macro" lens to capture the beauty and intricacy of a butterfly's wings, or an amateur astronomer may connect a telescope to the camera in the hope of catching an image of the "man on the moon", our "vision" in life is improved when we are able to "look" through various "lenses".

Here's one example. For me, I always "see" more clearly when the day begins with exercise. Running for an hour, whether it's on the trail, on the road, or on a treadmill, sharpens focus and improves perspective. It also ensures a much more positive (and therefore, much more productive) mood. Paddling for several hours on the water does exactly the same thing. When life changes, for whatever reason, confusion and uncertainty can cloud vision and perspective. There's no better time to re-dedicate oneself to a regular regimen of physical exercise.

"Change" is ever-present in the lives of so many today. At such times, it's all too easy to struggle and drift, in the search for focus and direction. Just as the camera lens enables the photographer on earth see the structural details of an aircraft flying miles up in the sky, exercise and self-propelled movement can assist us in finding or forging new trails in life - and bringing into focus, the myriad of possibilities that are always there - but sometimes in need of a little extra focus and magnification. And besides, our minds and our bodies usually enjoy working together!

Of course, there are some other effective lenses to consider in times of change...but for another time, in "tales from a 'reconfigured' life". :)


By the way: The context of the word reconfigured, in this blog, is loosely defined as "briefly retired-but-anticipating-upcoming-and-meaning-filled-possibilities-and-opportunities".

2nd image: From inside the cabin on a KLM "Cityhopper" Fokker 100, flying from Glasgow to Amsterdam.

Quiz: Can anyone identify the airline company the jet (top image) belongs to? The tail (vertical stabilizer), that is just visible, appears to be red or orange-coloured. Should have thought of a prize here! :)

We have an answer to the "Quiz". Our good friend Dave, who is also a pilot, identified the aircraft as a Delta Airlines 747 - 400, likely heading to Tokyo. Nice piece of work, thanks Dave!


  1. Duncan, at a time of significant change in my life, I really agree that getting outside (everyday!) keeps everything in perspective - and under control. SO important. Cheers, Gen.

  2. Sounds like you are enjoying your reconfigured life along with your camera and lens...can't wait to check it out.
    As for the airline...don't have a clue....but will go with Air India or Yukon...and honestly will you ever know. L

  3. Thanks for that, Gen - totally understood. After slacking off this past week or so, I'm back at it. SO important is right! D.

    Hi L, yeah well let's say we're "tolerating" reconfiguration for the present time. :) Can't have too much of a good thing so we're monitoring life carefully. Haha. D.

  4. So much to say... Lets start with, Beautiful post. As my book is just back from the first proof reader I am thinking a lot about writing style. Yours is sensational. Second, for me it doesn't have to be exercise, it can be meditation. I was thinking about it this morning as I was paddling in the rain. I can actually get into a meditative state faster in a kayak than I can sitting in a posture. I could for some be running, or cycling... Whatever your chosen pursuit is. It's getting the mind in order and quieting it down. something that most aren't good at due to our very 'noisy' world. Third I would say from the buddhist perspective, we talk a lot about filters - kind of like lenses, no? - and how everyone sees the world through the filter that is their lives and experiences. When we experience something, we aren't experiencing that event, we are experiencing it through the filter of past events. And how those past events effected us. So while I am impressed by the lens that took that photo - seriously, handheld, a moving target, 40,000 feet. It is surprisingly sharp - perhaps the next step would be removing the lens altogether. And Finally, the airline... I HAVE NO IDEA!


  5. Your comments are very generous, PO. I certainly agree with you that meditation calms and sharpens the mind. I have a friend who teases me (affectionately) about how I can't sit still long enough to appreciate the experience of meditation. She's right but I do "taste" the experience in other ways. I've been doing a lot of running on a treadmill this past year to ease my injured achilles back to good health. I run at a precise "barefoot" cadence (using metronome) of 178 steps per minute. This morning, as sometimes happens, there was that "sweet spot" about half an hour into the run. The next 30 minutes simply seemed to evaporate - I can hardly remember the time at all. So for me, it was a "moving meditation", perhaps similar to what you experienced in the kayak this morning. My tradition has learned a lot about compassion from your tradition and we try to see and understand the world through the "lens" of compassion. When we do so, we make every effort to ensure our actions are complementary and faithful to that lens - or filter. That makes for a better world, I know it does. There's so much to discuss, isn't there. :) Looking forward to seeing your book, PO. And I have no idea which airline either. "Talk" to you again. Many thanks. Duncan.

  6. Beautiful and thank you. Right post for today here on the east coast.
    Not to mention I know a new word was not wasted.

    Great post; thanks!

  7. Cheers Lee, same for me. I always figure if I learn anything at all on any given's a good day! :) Thanks for that. D.