My thoughts on everything from albacore tuna to zebras
| Just last week I was reminded of an often-overlooked natural phenomenon. I don’t recollect the exact conversation at the moment but I made a mental note to bring everyone up to speed at the first opportunity.
I can recall in my youth, my early youth that is, going with my Dad to fish for bluegills at a local lake called Miller’s Pond. We would row our boat across the lake to a shallow cove where the water lilies covered most of the surface, leaving just pockets of open water in which to fish. Here we would plop, within feet of the boat, our worm laden hooks and bobbers in search of a battle royal with a half pound bluegill or sunfish or whatever other denizen of the deep we could entice to swallow our annelidic offering.
There were times when it was difficult to keep our worms in the water as they were often attacked simultaneously in a piranha like fashion. And there were other times when the bait went unnoticed and was simply followed to the surface by a lazily swimming turtle who eyed us and our boat with a somewhat bemused eye as they slowly sank back into the lily shadowed abyss from whence they had risen. Often, it was during times such as these, when the fishing was slow and the opportunity to let your thoughts drift was high, that we would observe small bubbles of gas rising periodically to the surface of Miller’s Pond, rising in the same, somewhat lazily fashion that the turtles did.
Having been the willing participant of many a boyhood swim and the sometimes-unwilling participant (victim) of many a boyhood bath I was quick to recognize these bubbles as …ahem…farts. The question then became, where did the farts come from? Since the most obvious culprit was the bemused turtle, who’s lazily attitude the farts much mimiced, it became obvious to me that I was observing the released of the gastrointestinal workings of a turtle. And upon rendering such an epoch of information to my Dad and eventually my childhood friends I placed all the turtle farts we have observed since in the category of hoo-hum, for now that we know what they are they are not nearly as interesting.
It was years later that the phenomenon of beer bubbles caught my attention. On one of my early trips to the glacial lakes of Canada I was quick to observe from their granite shores the rise of myriad bubbles from their depths. Since, I rarely saw a turtle in Canada, and since every time I saw the bubbles they were within the approximate geographic location of one of my camp buddies who happened to be lazily swimming in much the same way as the turtles of Miller’s Pond and…since in every single case, the lazily swimming buddy was holding a cold bottle of beer, I quickly surmised, using my finely honed Miller Pond deductive reasoning, that I was witness to the little known wonder of the natural world – beer bubbles.
To further determine if my line of reasoning was correct I subjected myself to the same conditions as my camp buddies and found, that when I too was swimming lazily in the granite shored glacial lake, sipping on a cold Canadian brew, beer bubbles were observed to form in my approximate geographic location.
Alas, as with the turtle farts of my youth, once identified, beer bubbles also lost much of my interest, but fear not, for as any good scientist will tell you there are numerous questions in the Universe that still need to be answered and of late, I have noticed a similar occurrence happening in the manure pits of local farms, and I am much perplexed, for there is neither a beer nor a turtle for as far as the finely honed Miller’s pond deductive eye can see.