After a slow first five months, I'm back to blogging in earnest. In the forthcoming few months I plan to keep on tracking the blooming of wildflowers, the activities of bugs and reptiles and any other critters I'm quick enough or lucky enough to photograph, and to comment on ecological relationships. Since there is an increasing sense of ecological crisis among many people and more vigorous denial of such on the part of others, I will inevitably comment on the social and political dimensions of survival as I see them.
I am still an adjunct instructor in the English Department at Feather River College, but time permitting, I am available for hire as a nature guide in the region in and around Plumas County. A brochure describing my usual kinds of natural history adventures is in development. Email me c/o email@example.com with your mailing address and a statement of interests, and I'll send you a rough draft.
I have been teaching since 1965 and have recently joined the English Department as an Associate Faculty member at Feather River College. Recently taught Nature Literature in America and am currently teaching Interpersonal Communication and Basic Reading and Writing.
This photo taken about an hour after the ones in my previous post. It's probably just another attempt to deny the onset of winter. But I thought the scene was rather pretty. I'm wondering how much metabolism continues underground once the surface is covered with snow. It must depend on temperature, of course, but there must be some limit. Last year around this time we had weeks of single digit temperatures, and I'm sure the freeze line must have extended at least a foot below the surface. What about all the seeds that germinate in the spring. Does their metabolism completely stop during these times? If so, are they still alive? How dormant is dormant? Plant physiologists can answer these questions, of course, but as a naturalist, I have too many questions to answer. I just enjoy wondering, and I do a little research in the cases I can't resist. I'm amazed by things like a patch of lichen on a rock only two or three inches in diameter that may be several hundred years old. That's what I call a slow metabolism. Compare that to some plants that can gain a foot in height overnight. I wonder at what point in the evolutionary tree of animals curiosity first appears, and whether it confers any survival advantage on those that develop it. Will curiosity save us or finish us off? I keep changing my mind on this subject.