During the school year
I attend meetings to learn more
About being a better teacher
All so I can flex out
Of an in-service day in May.
The sun is shining,
The air is heavy, and
There is one last baseball game to be played.
Honestly, it feels like Williamsburg
Way back in the eighties.
After months of coaching and
Trying to balance
A life of many directions
This is the week to get back
A morning run on an indoor track
Is nothing like the trails
At York River State Park
Or the perfumed pavement
Of DOG Street, but those memories still inspire.
Coincidently, the Eagles are playing
One of the soundtracks associated
With living on Longhill Road,
Before streaming music and
Way before the vinyl revival.
The Long Run.
Williamsburg has been in my dreams,
Two nights in a row
I found myself wading in the creek behind Lafayette
Part scientist, part hunter, and
So appreciative of the natural beauty in those woods.
What of this drive to exercise or
Relive whatever it is Wet Biology is suggesting?
I could be traveling the world
Like my old friend who seems to be around San Antonio right now,
But I think the life vibe is just telling me to get going.
Off-work work days do something to the mind.
They let thoughts run free
Giving a break to the weary way of the grind.
Funny how a soul finds comfort
In the familiar.
Exercise. Home. Fresh Starts.
Photo Credit: Google Images
Wet and Dry Biology was the best of times and it was the worst of times. Wet Biology was a perfect mix of college, games, and humor for me. In the class, we studied the ecosystems in ponds, streams, and rivers. We caught critters and learned to identify them. We conducted mini-studies and learned how to use the library at William and Mary. In Dry-Biology we studied plants and their winter buds. We went to Jamestown and York River State park to count deer scat. It wasn’t my thing.
One project for Dry-Biology involved studying animal tracks. Since my father was a police officer I figured he would have the stuff to make a mold of any tracks that we could find around my house. Finding the tracks would be easy because I lived on Carter’s Grove Plantation and there was nothing but woods around our house. The problem was waiting for a time when my father and I could coordinate our schedules. He worked rotating shifts and I was always at basketball practice or games. Finally, we found a night that both of us would be home. We headed out into the dark in search of any kind of tracks.
There was a service road in front of our house that led down a hill towards the James River. Before heading into the woods, the road wrapped around a corn field. There were no lights to help guide us and we walked along the road with a flashlight like climbers trying to summit Everest. A cold wind blew off the river and the tall pines creaked and leaned against each setting a very Vincent Price mood.
Sometimes I got scared living so far off the main road. In a field across from our house, stakes marked the location of settlers that were killed during an attempt by local Native Americans to reclaim their land. When I was home alone at night I often wondered if the spirits ever rose from their shallow graves to visit their old lands. At the time of our walk, I was also reading Truman Capote’s, “In Cold Blood.” The combination of the cold, the wind, the stakes, and the images of someone driving to our far removed house started to scare me. All I wanted was to find some tracks, pour the mold, and get back home.
We found some raccoon tracks and did just that. I wasn’t interested in waiting for the stuff to dry, but my father made sure we waited long enough for the mold to set. I scooped up the mold and headed back up the hill with a determined sense of purpose. I wanted no part of wandering spirits or vagabond murderers. Fortunately, neither appeared.
Unfortunately, deer flies were waiting out on Jamestown Island for our spring deer population scat study.
Wishy washy words and phrases
Like “suggests” and “seems to indicate”
Would become invaluable tools
As I wrote my dissertation.
They were gifts from the incomparable,
Charles I. Dubay,
Who knew how to tell an awful joke
And drive a rickety old bus.
He took us into nature,
Ponds, streams, and rivers,
Teaching about habitats, adaptations,
And the vagaries of scholarly research.
Little did I know then,
But that Biology class
Would stir a love of learning
I tap into every day.
“Wet Biology” was not school.
It was an experience
That budgets and testing
Would probably kill today.
Man, I loved that class,
The mud, the test kits, the smelly nets,
The discovery learning, the whole thing.
Nothing wishy washy about that.