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, March 25, 2016

Year 4: Part 2: Post 2: Creature of Habit

Happy Second Half of Spring, I suppose. Remember, according to Kit, spring started back in February.

My project of sleeping outdoors several times a week continues. I like it. I don't mean I always like doing it--there are days when I'd much rather be inside--but I like the project as a whole. It's getting to seem pretty homey out there. Anyway, because I always stay ahead of schedule, with a higher average of nights outside than I actually need, if I really don't want to go out for whatever reason, I don't usually have to.

It's just so beautiful out there--and I get so much of it, whole nights, sometimes whole days, when I used to mostly only go outside for a few minutes between one thing and another. I used to go whole weeks without getting a good view of the stars. There is a rightness to this.

In any case, I'm not just sitting around out there enjoying myself, I also have assignments frm Charlie.

Over the Fall and Winter, I have to identify every woody plant growing in my site, keep a running long of animal sightings, and write reports on the local soil types and on the geologic context of the place. That last, with geology, seemed easy, at first, because I've already covered much the same material for a class, but then Charlie had me write another report on how I'd look up the geology of an area I hadn't studied in class. He does that a lot--if an assignment seems easy to me, it's a good bet he's going to have me elaborate on it somehow. And everything has to be in ordinary language, so he can be sure I really understand it and am not just parroting jargon.

Now, the assignments are getting more seasonal. I still have to keep up my log of animal sightings, but I also have to keep lists of what's sprouting and flowering each week within my site. For a while he had me measuring bud lengths, presumably so I could see how they swelled and shrank with the changing weather. He's had me measure the circumference of many of the tree trunks and the lengths of certain branches. I'm looking to record the dates and times of my first sightings of various insects--I've seen flies, beetles, and ants, so far, but no bees, wasps, or butterflies. The list awaits their appearance.

I know this sounds like a lot of work, and in a way it is. I mean, it occupies some time, you know? But it doesn't occupy as much time as you'd think because most of it--the observing part--is what I'd be doing anyway. I mean, I've gotten used to paying attention to all of this stuff, so the only real extra thing I have to do is write stuff down.

Why is he having me do this? It's not for Charlie's edification, obviously. I think it's to remind me to pay attention, to keep the habit fresh.

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