A Braille Code Etched In Barley

At the border line of a new year, I sit transfixed in front of my computer by what I am seeing onscreen: carved into an enormous green field of barley,crop circle with braille code inside spanning an entire acre, is a beautiful geometric pattern, circular in circumference, with squares and a rectangle in the middle with… with… is that braille? The dots are square but unmistakably etched in a six-dot pattern we recognize as “the code.”

An elaborate crop circle mysteriously appeared overnight in the tiny town of Chualar, California. A photographer who happened to be flying over the field in a helicopter captured the giant-scale work of art, which went viral overnight. That alone was fortuitous. You can’t see a crop circle pattern from the ground; all you can see are bent swaths of grain—at a 90-degree angle from the root node and woven together flat—leading in one direction or another. If you’ve never seen a crop circle, imagine a full page of raised braille dots, some of which are only half as tall, thus forming a finely detailed pattern like an engraving.

Debra Falanga, a certified braille transcriber from New Jersey, told CNN, “The braille was so accurately portrayed… it’s not off in any way, shape, or form. It looks like a ticker tape of the number 192, 192, 192.” Even the number sign was properly displayed.

The next day the farmer ordered the field to be plowed.

I took it hard and to heart. Why does “the unknown” elicit destruction rather than a playful curiosity? Myself, I can’t fathom how human elves could make such an intricate pattern, overnight and without detection. But, aliens? What I do know, and lament, is the fact that our time of wonder was cut short.  A crop circle inscribed in braille appeared within a week of Louis Braille’s actual birthday on January 4th. Who can deny the beauty of that?

Today, a company that makes a mobile processor with 192 graphics cores, NVIDIA, took credit for the circle.

They wanted to promote the fact that their processor can do things no other technology – on this planet – can do. Frankly, I preferred the braille-literate aliens.

Happy New Year!