The Wheel of Life

Just give me the warm power of the sun
Give me the steady flow of a waterfall
Give me the spirit of living things as they return to clay.
Just give me the restless power of the wind
Give me the comforting glow of a wood fire
But please take all of your atomic poison power away.
Everybody needs some power I'm told
To shield them from the darkness and the cold
Some may see a way to take control when it's bought and sold.
I know that lives are at stake
Yours and mine and our descendants in time.
There's so much to gain, so much to lose
Everyone of us has to choose.
There is so much to be gained from creatively harnessing natural energy, and my photos show an outstanding example of environmentally friendly science which is married with stunning design. The Falkirk Wheel in Scotland replaces a flight of eleven locks spanning the 35m (115ft) height difference between the Forth and Clyde and Union Canals. The locks had been dismantled in 1933 ending navigation on the historic waterway. The Falkirk Wheel, which is the world’s first and only rotating boat lift, was completed in 2002. The perfectly balanced structure uses Archimedes' principle of displacement supplemented by hydraulic motors to simultaneously raise and lower two boats in rotating gondolas as seen in the picture below.
What an exemplary combination of form and function. What a contrast to the vacuous baubles of Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium (remember that?) and London's Millenium Dome. The eerily prophetic lyrics above are from Power which was on a Peter Paul and Mary album in 1983. The song is also on the group's essential 1993 collection Songs of Conscience and Concern, as is The Great Mandala (The Wheel of Life). That track provides my title, and, as part of the Buddhist Wheel of Life, also revolves here. There's so much to gain, so much to lose ...
More on the Falkirk Wheel on Wikipedia and the website of the project's mechanical engineers. Photos (c) On An Overgrown Path 2008. Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk


Pliable said…
I should have said that Power was not written by the members of Peter, Paul and Mary. It came from the pen of husband and wife songwriters Johanna and John Hall. After the pair divorced in 2000 John Hall went on to become a Democrat Congressman. Among his platforms are pushing for energy indepedence.
Pliable said…
Oh the power of communication when coupled with a global vision.

I sent Congressman John Hall a brief email at the House of Representatives flagging up this post as it is connected with energy independence.

Back came this reply:

Thank you for contacting my office and/or subscribing to my e-newsletter. You have received this automatically generated reply because the House computer system has been unable to confirm that your address is in the 19th Congressional District of New York. Unfortunately, Congressional rules prohibit me from using official Congressional funds to initiate communications with anyone outside my district. If you reside in my district and received this message in error, please call one of my offices so we can correct this mistake. Please make sure to leave your name, residential address, phone number and e-mail address. As long as you use the same e-mail address in the future, you should not receive this message again. I apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused you. If you do not live in the 19th Congressional District and you need assistance from your Representative, please go to to obtain his or her contact information. I greatly appreciate your interest in receiving updates on my Congressional activities, and I regret that I am unable to respond. Of course, you may visit my website at at any time for information.


John Hall
Member of Congress

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