Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hiding Like a Lichen

I got caught up in lesson planning, essay grading, and related matters toward the end of the semester and have only blogged once in December.  That's a far cry from post-per-day pace I maintained for most of the past two years.  Well, that's about to change.  These first two photos are of lichens I found along the path in the forest by my house.  The top one actually shows a lot of moss as well.  The lichens, with their slow metabolism and often well-hidden, remind me of my usual winter tendency to like to keep the blinds drawn and read by low light near the wood stove. 
The remaining five photos were taken by my son with his iPod Touch while we were up on Mt. Hough cutting our Christmas tree. 

Final grades are due Monday, and that's when I'll turn over a new leaf and start blogging more frequently again.  There will be more emphasis on current writing interests and less photography.  I also plan to showcase more of my students' nature writing and writing on environmental issues.  Until then, have a happy holiday season.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Damp Forest Aesthetics

This month is already getting away from me where blogging is concerned.  A recent hike in the woods near my home revealed a scene that reflects a lot of my current thinking about "everything is connected to everything else" and interdisciplinary approaches to teaching.  I recently joined a professional organization called Association for the Study of Literature and Environment.  I also found out that I get to teach Nature Literature in America again next fall.  One of my colleagues who teaches Introduction to Environmental Studies has agreed to collaborate and we'll try to get as many students as we can to co-enroll in the two classes. So lots of things remind me to pay attention to "connectedness."
So, back to the photo.  To me it expresses the love-hate relationship many of us have with nature.  For instance, one of my most hated encounters with human-altered nature is stepping in dog poop.  But, one of my favorite encounters is with the great variety of fungi found in damp forests.  Here we have a marriage, three clumps of dog poop being neutralized by a fungus, perhaps a slime mold.  Despite the presence of dog poop, I found the little ecosystem aesthetically pleasing.  It's also a token contribution to my campaign to "bring back the diphthong" a marriage of two letters acting as one.