Sunday, January 23, 2011

Things I'm loving right now...

The only relationship among the following things is that I'm thinking about them. Stream-of-consciousness, not quite Faulkner style, but fun nonetheless. (And not nearly as much work, I hope, for the readers, or for the writer!)

1) Getting rid of asphalt and planting trees. I have an awesome job at Watershed Management Group, and yesterday we installed stormwater harvesting basins (actually, we used underground infiltration chambers fed by round "cores" cut in the side of the curb, so that stormwater will flow in as it goes down the street). Someday I'll write about the technical details of this, but the bottom line is, we got to plant native trees and grasses where there used to be only asphalt, and those plants will be fed by the stormwater that is normally treated as a waste product. Bringing nature back into cities is one of the major reasons I went into urban planning, and I feel so lucky that I get to do it in my work.

2) Blind Descent, by James M. Tabor, about the exploration of "supercaves" - really big caves that people spend days (and weeks of in-and-out expeditions) exploring. It's truly unimaginable. As a scuba diver, sometime-canyoneer, and sporadic rock climber, I can relate to a lot of the things these cavers are doing - except I think that's a little like saying that because you've run a mile, you can relate to what it would be like to run in the Olympics. They are climbing, backpacking, diving, rappelling, sleeping on Porta-ledges... in the cold, wet, and dark. Not just dark, but in the absolute absence of light. Oh yeah, and in the constantly gusting wind creating by these huge caves. If you're into reading about the limits of the human experience, I highly recommend it.

While on the topic of books, I also just finished Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card. I don't consider myself much of science fiction person, but these books transcend the genre. Card is a master of plot and pacing, and I once again found myself astonished at how people can sit down and write fiction.

3) The fact that the hubs has started homebrewing again, filling the house with the warm smell of yeast and the promise of delicious beer in a few short weeks.

4) The hummingbirds that I've been seeing around town (they're back, I guess?), as well as the resident vermilion flycatcher we spotted this morning in the park across the street. Just the name vermilion flycatcher makes me happy.

5) Our plans to check out the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and the sandhill cranes tomorrow - pictures soon, I hope!

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