Nearly a month has gone by without any new posts, despite my recent statements about blogging in earnest. I'm finding that teaching writing classes not only involves lots of time grading papers but also focuses my interest on writing. I'm actually writing a lot in various journals and notebooks, but not focusing in the short run on material I want to post here. We'll see what develops. Let's just say, my cessation of blogging is not due to deterioration of my health. I might be back soon. It probably depends on how spring unfolds - wildflowers, lizards, interesting insects, etc., usually fire me up and prompt me to keep my camera batteries charged.
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.
There are hundreds of ways that are more interesting than just standing there looking at flowers. Here's one. The above plant is Red-stemmed Filaree, an undocumented immigrant. Known to science as Erodium circutarium. Different species of Erodium are native all over Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Many have migrated to the USA, but in the Southwest, we have two native species, the Texas Storksbill and the Roundleaf Storksbill. The long pointy thing on the left is a bundle of 5 seeds wrapped around a central stork. When the seeds mature they get dry and brown, and eventually start to curl away from the central stork. Under the right conditions of maturity and dryness, they literally pop off the stork and curl up into a tight screw. See below.
If you manage to come across a bunch of filaree many of whose seeds have turned dry and brown but are still on the storks, you can gently pull individual seeds off the plant and set them in the palm of your hand. They will then curl up, slowly and steadily, before your eyes. In five minutes or so they can make at least ten complete revolutions and look like a screw with a Fibonacci curve at the end and lots of minute hairs sticking out every which way. The action of curling in your hand is a wonder to watch. Hard not to imagine a mind at work. There's not, of course. Just physics. But wonderful physics! Click on each photo for more detail. Then go out and look for some dry filaree.