the owl and kinetic energy

Kinetic energy – very simply – is the energy of motion.

It can be defined as

the work needed to accelerate a body of a given mass from rest to its stated velocity. Having gained this energy during its acceleration, the body maintains this kinetic energy unless its speed changes.

Owls are not particularly fast flyers. With a top speed of 40 mph they aren’t about to break any speed records. But when they move – they really move, deadly and silently. A couple of months ago Montreal traffic cameras captured pictures of a snowy owl in flight. That must have been fantastic to see!

This little owl doesn’t record speeds of anything like 40mph – except very occasionally on her bike, whizzing downhill with the wind at her back – and then only in summer! Mostly I plod along, sometimes taking time to smell the roses – but often so caught up in my thoughts that at least on very familiar paths I am semi-oblivious to my surroundings. That’s a bit sad really isn’t it? I have a (somewhat irritating, if I’m honest!) fridge magnet – given to me years ago by a friend – that says “Every day is a gift, that is why we call it the present.” (groan!) But a more meaningful way for me to see that comes from my twisting the saying on its head and reworking it so that it becomes all about

The gift of being present

A very different thing indeed.

So why then am I reflecting on kinetic energy?
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what gets us – me – moving. Another way of looking at that – what causes inertia (a lack of movement or action particularly when it is needed)?
Perhaps most importantly of all, is the question what enables me to be present? How can I best use my energy for that?

 

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