To begin the story at the beginning, read "Part 1: Post 1: Beginning Again," published in January, 2013. To consult a description of the campus, read "Part 1: Post 14: The Greening of Campus," published in March, 2013.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Year 2: Part 3: Post 5: Back into the Swing of Things

Note;  I've way over-committed myself, between one thing and another, and with the landscaping season in full swing now something has to give. So I'm dropping down to one post per week, until further notice. This will be the last Friday post. On Mondays I'll continue to post as normal.

I've  made it seem, I think, like I spent all my time on the Island in this busy, confusing daze while having natural history crammed down my throat. It's actually been a lot more organized than that and I've had a lot of fun learning. We've touched on history, geology, weather, all sorts of topics and I've really gotten a chance to explore the place. It as though, on campus, I've been working on getting to know a place very well, and here Charlie's having me do it again, but faster and in not as much depth, with a different place. Maybe the point is to make sure I know how to get to know somewhere, so I can do it with multiple places?

Anyway, Charlie and I rode back in the vans with the rest of the trip because Allen and his family aren't going back to campus right away. I don't know where they're going. I didn't ask. I didn't tell the other students where I had been and they didn't ask me.

We just got back and now the trail work season is about to begin. I think I told you that I'm going to be doing hiking trail maintenance as an athletic pursuit. I've been working for months now in Kit's practical yoga class on proper body mechanics and form, so I don't injure myself while working. This week I'm going to re-take the chainsaw safety and handling workshop, plus I'm going to take a class in using and maintaining an axe. I already know how to clean and sharpen all the other tools. And then Charlie's going to teach a workshop on hiking trail maintenance and then set me loose on the trails. I can ask Rick to help me if I need it, but it's my job. It seems like rather a lot, and I don't see how I'll really know what I'm doing by then, but then I never seem to know what I'm doing these days, and I manage to do it anyway.

These trails don't get a lot of use so they don't need a lot of work. The only big deal is that there are a lot of them, many miles, curled up together like some giant intestine in the woods. Most of my job is to hike every inch of it at some point this summer and cut back brush, clean out drainage structures, and cut away any blown-down trees. There might be a couple of larger projects, it depends on what I find on my patrol.

And I need to fit all of this into my free time, which I don't really have any of, so I'm going to have to hike fast, work fast--probably every day--and never get hurt. That's why it's an athletic practice.

And I'm also taking Karen's introductory martial arts and fitness class again, and I'm hoping to be able to keep running with Ollie. If I'm not in excellent shape by fall it'll be some kind of backwards miracle of unexplained unhelpfulness.

I got my class schedule today and somehow I've signed up for five classes. They're all things I wanted to take, I did sign up for them, but somehow I didn't realize there were five of them. At least I won't get any homework from two of them. Besides Karen's class, I'm taking Physics and Fiction, which is a physics class taught through writing, reading, and discussing science fiction, the Psychology of Magic, Creating Campus, which is about the science behind the campus landscaping, and Messing Around Outdoors, which of course I've taken already, but never in the summer so it will be different this time.

I'm looking forward to all of it. I'm looking forward to running with Ollie again, to tracking and hiking with Rick, to getting into these weird philosophical and political discussions with Nora, to spending more time with Veery. I'm back from the Island, and it feels like I've been away from campus for years and years. All the trees are fully leafed out, I'm walking around in shorts when I don't have to wear my uniform, and I'm totally ready for whatever insane thing this summer is going to throw at me.

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