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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
From the window in my office, I can see across the town (or, could see last week) to the place where I live that is currently threatened by what they're calling the Minerva Fire. The road of helicopters is constant and the air is heavy with soot. The office is not air conditioned and I am sweating without even moving around. I stepped outside for a moment to see if the outdoor weather was any better than the indoor. And there he was - a rattlesnake trying to escape under the neighboring building. I took a couple of poor photos with my cell phone in order to send a message to the people in charge of dealing with rattlesnakes. The snake seemed to disappear under the building, but I came back a few minutes later with my better camera, and there he was. Trying to crawl under the building again. But this time I noticed that there was a kind of wooden wall that stopped him, so I got down low and closer and got the second photo with my Nikon.
After looking over all the photos from my phone and my DSLR, I determined that the rattler had at least 7 buttons. However, the snake was not very long. Three feet at most. As I've said here before, the number of buttons does not correlate to the size of the snake. They add a button every time they shed, and that could occur several times during the summer. In fact, they are likely to have the most buttons when they are around half their maximum length. This is much like deer who tend to grow larger antlers when they are young and in their prime. Yet, for souvenir hunters, the larger number of buttons and the larger antlers remain symbols of size and of the prowess of the hunter. AS Donald Trump would say, "Sad." Or is it "SAD"?