[blank verse] Mountain Mists

The mountain mists ascend to meet the sky,
above; the dew drops swirl in sacred cloud,
enlisting winds to carry them to parts unknown,
till dropping from the sky once more, "On, Life."
Imperious command the liquid bonds
that flow good things to those in need: "On, Life."

We are a mystery you will not solve
for eons hence, for now just watch and glow.

blank verse by Paul Guernsey, © 2019/10/26

I have visited the Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains many times at different times of year and different times of day, but today was the first time I noticed that the mists were actually moving, rising to the sky. How beautiful. How many others had noticed this before, for how many millennia? This generation comprehends the cycle at a molecular level, but how deeply does our understanding go?

I also wonder what other forces constrain the vastness from the depths of space, forces that allowed the conception of life to take. Example: If Earth has an iron core, which spinning generates our protective ionosphere, how did it get there?

Poetic Rhythm Works a Magic

Verse works some kind of magic on its listener. The underlying beat of a poem is an aesthetic carrier wave of some kind, which transmits a meaning independent of the textual communication. These are the effects of meter, rhyme, stanzas – all that comprises verse, and by extension poetry.

Blank verse, heroic verse, alliterative verse, the sonnet, haiku. Each FORM establishes its own distinct and unique aesthetic effect on its listener, regardless of the words contained inside.

On Poetry

Beowulf: listening for alliterative verse

[see also Seamus Heaney’s Introduction to his BEOWULF A New Verse Translation, Bilingual Edition, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2000]

Back to School: To Learn? To Teach? To Do?

Drafty Integrated GIS MS Thesis
2018/12/09, 2019/10/20
Paul Guernsey

Remembering Mr. Carroll and Mr. Clarke, Cass City High School teachers, mid 1970’s

101 Years at C.C.H.S.

“The six most familiar teachers at C.C.H.S. have a combined total of 101 years of teaching experience… Mr. Carroll has spent 7 years teaching driver education to students during the summer, while Mr. Clarke has spent his 23 years at Cass City sponsoring Future Farmers.”
[Cass City High School year book, “Perannos”, 1976]

“Lyle Clarke sponsored Future Farmers of America and is knows as ‘Dad’ to all of his Ag. students. Richard Carroll braved another year of driver’s training students after a year of typing and booking classes.”
[Cass City High School year book, “Perannos”, 1978]

Let me be frank. Mr. Carroll was the singularly most uninspired teacher in Cass City High School for generations before and since. His students assigned him many names, none as respectful as “Dad.” YET, he imparted to me and my classmates one skill that advantaged us profoundly for the rest of our working and non-working lives: the ability to type (also to drive, but that is a different story [link to future post]). Typing was considered an academic pursuit back then, reserved for the college bound, or for secretaries under the service of some lofty executive, lofty enough to be above such things as keystrokes. Little did we know that Bill Gates had other uses for our typing. Little did I know that my programming career would be built upon the noisome activities of Mr. Carroll’s room, the clicking of keys, the shhhhunk-ding of the carriage as it returned home to its left margin stop.

Will spatial data and GIS be as ubiquitous and proufoundly useful to future workers as typing has been for our generation? I do not know.

I did not live on a farm, so was a “city kid” in the culture of the Thumb of Michigan. I never knew Mr. Clarke, but I have known and studied under educators to whom “Dad” or “Grandpa” would have been keenly apt. There is no substitute for the kind of enthusiasm that rubs off certain teachers and dusts the student mind with spores of interest. I am not a teacher, but I believe that spatial data and maps are fascinating. We have only just begun to leaverage the tools recently made available in this field. I believe that for today’s students, stepping into an age of drones and the remote sensing of data, maps will become more and more useful for communication and persuasion. The required knowledge scales heights far beyond the biomechanics and muscle memory needed for typing. We have a great deal to teach our youth to prepare them for that kind of workplace. I have only begun to learn myself, but we all begin from this place of darkness, seeking light.

Will this course of study lead me to teaching or just to different levels of my own career? I do not know what I will decide later on, but I do know where my interests lie at this moment and these I will pursue. Beyond that, I choose to defer judgement until I have more ability to judge, but I did have some thoughts about GIS and education, so I include them, here. I had originally considered this an initial draft of my Masters Thesis, but I really don’t know what one of those looks like.


The earlier a subject is introduced, the more likely students are to connect with it on a passionate level.

Kids naturally want to contribute in a meaningful way back to their parents and communities who have given them so much.


The purpose of my Thesis is to

  1. Provide an answer to the question, “How are we going to keep them down on the farm…?” Let’s start turning “down on the farm” into “up on the farm,” the place to stay for a high-tech, high-reward, high-quality life.
  2. Provide a satisfying and lucrative career for myself with more time outdoors and less time sitting at a keyboard.

Drones are superior to satelites for spatial resolution. Pixel size is “30 meters for Landsat 4-5 TM and Landsat-7 ETM+”, while a typical drone pixel represents as small an area as 6 sq cm. [3] While drones are too expensive for widespread use at the moment, this is just a manufacturing problem. Drone price and supply will very soon not be a significant factor in the ag geospatial market.

Given the approaching ubiquity of low cost drones, how can we put Michigan in the center of the Ag GeoSpatial map,” metaphorically speaking?

To me this is neither a hardware, nor a software issue, but an educational one. Regardless of how cheap drones become, nor how sophisticated or user friendly software becomes, someone still needs to launch the aircraft, upload and process the photos into GIS data, analyze and understand the results. Furthermore, the results need to be meaningful in terms that matter most to the Farmer: Crop Yield. And who better to do this than the tech savvy, video game controller wielding farm (and farm town) kids, the kids being educated now in our rural secondary schools?

“The purpose of a UAS [6] is to help you look at a particular challenge from a different angle – literally. The more information you have at your fingertips, the better informed decisions you make.” [7]

“In the next 10 years, farmers will have to have successfully managed the areas listed above while dealing with more regulations and a population that understands production agriculture less and less. We will have to educate our end user better.” [8]


[1] A Real Farmer on Drones in Farming

[2] Misconceptions about UAV-collected NDVI imagery and the Agribotix experience in ground truthing these images for agriculture

[3] UAV Imagery vs. Satellite

[4] Best Drones For Agriculture 2018: The Ultimate Buyer�s Guide

[5] Measuring Vegetation (NDVI & EVI)
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)

[6] UAS – Unmanned Aerial System

[7] Meet Matt Barnard, Founder of Crop Copter
Successful Farming, issue
[], 2015/08/19, by Laurie Bedford
© 2018 Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

[8] ibid.

Back to School index