Saturday, August 18, 2012

The angle of repose

the angle of repose – from 0° to 90°, the maximum angle to the horizontal at which rocks, soil and other objects will remain without sliding, or the maximum angle at  which an object can rest  on a slope without sliding down.
I read Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose a number of years ago, when I was working around a large number of engineers.  It was the first time I had heard of the concept and I was taken by the beauty and imagery of the term. The angle of repose, what a poetic engineer.   Why repose?  The word is such a rich one.  The Free Dictionary gives several definitions in the noun form of the word: resting; freedom from worry, peace of mind; calmness, tranquility.  The verb form takes the word a little further:  to lay down; to rest or relax; to lie dead.

As  the object  of this repose, I find retirement has taken me further from the slipping point than I had  been in a while.  There have been times when the angle was quite steep yet I felt solid, and others when only a slight elevation would have made  me slip.  We are not engineered objects.  It  is more  than friction and gravity that keeps us clinging to our spot.  This  blog will follow my travels  as I navigate  the angles that I seek, and those that find me.


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  2. I am currently reading - and writing - about mindfulness. Your phrase "the angles that I seek and those that find me" resonates. Look forward to your musings.