Monday, March 10, 2008

Eye in the sky

As I write (Saturday morning), 100 miles southeast of Nassau, there is not a cloud in the sky. My granddaughter is on the terrace topping off her tan. The sea gently laps the shore.

But look! I log onto AccuWeather to see what the day holds. And watch on satellite loop a narrow band of heavy weather racing across South Florida, scooting to the northeast. We'll catch the tail. The afternoon promises wind, rain, maybe thunder.

What a thing it is that the world is watched in real time by eyes in the sky, and I can lie here on the couch in the central Bahamas and watch a storm rumble across Miami on the screen of my laptop. We take all this for granted, forgetting how recent it is that folks had any idea what weather was coming. In the second year of my life -- 1938 -- a hurricane roared unannounced out of the Atlantic and devastated New England.

And so a nod, to a fellow who usually is made a goat of science, Robert Fitzroy, captain of H. M. S. Beagle, ardent creationist and nemesis of Charles Darwin. Fitzroy might fairly be called the first modern weatherman. If you missed my previous homage to a man who was caught tragically between science and faith, here is the link. And here is another story about scientist a caught between faith and evidence.