...an unpaid sabbatical. Just call it a break. I've fallen well short of my original goals for this blog and am too busy to continue at this time. Thanks for the comments and feedback people have given me by email and other means. I will continue to find solace in nature walks, with or without camera and notebook, but I will take at least a two-month break from posting here.
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.
I've been seeing too many news items on line and in periodicals that make me angry, some of which have to do with the future of natural history, to remain calm. I've imagined rants about the Republican primary in South Carolina where there seems to be a contest to see who can be the most retrograde politician. One said "true conservatives never compromise." What idiots. Then I've been seeing lots of Yahoo News items ranking the "10 worst college majors." The only criteria seem to be whether a new graduate can get a high paying job and whether more of "them" will be needed in the next decade or so. My two areas of greatest training, natural history and English, are always on the list. Seems that the main purpose of a liberal arts education has become obsolete. Maybe it all started when George W. Bush cynically would avoid saying "the L word." In the present political climate, I am pessimistic about American education and about the health of our planet. So, to remain somewhat sane, I revert to my friends the beetles. A couple of weeks ago I came across a nice little booklet about spiders from Heyday Books. I've decided to put together a comparable booklet about beetles. I have more than enough beetle photos in my archives and beetle notes in my journals to tell lots of stories about the environment and the importance of getting generations of kids back in touch with nature and weaned from their stupid electronic devices. More about the beetle project coming soon, after I catch up on a couple of other promised stories. Meanwhile, can you imagine how much fun it was to relax by the side of a trail and watch this Red Milkweed Beetle, Tetraopes basalis, munch on a leaf of the Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa?