file under GREEN and BLUE, the primary colors of the globe
I didn’t want to jinx anything by writing about my plans too soon, but I am about to apply for three travel visas; I have already received a yellow fever vaccination; and my syllabus is posted, so I guess I really AM going!
I’ve been hired again to travel on the Explorer with Semester at Sea. Fall Semester 2013. August to December.
There! I’ve announced it to yet a wider circle of my world.
My family learned in January, I shared the news with folks at work gradually in February, and spent most of March and April working on a syllabus and planned readings. This week I am trying to nail down some details about field trips and assignments for my writing students in Dublin and Winneba. Next week I really do have to tackle all those visa applications for Russia (we’re going to stop first in St. Petersburg), for Ghana (Charlottesville has a sister city in Winneba), and Brazil.
This voyage begins in Southampton, England, and takes us down the western coasts of Europe and Africa before crossing the Atlantic and sampling three ports of call in South America. We disembark in Florida. I’m the designated director of the ship’s Writing Center—providing academic student help—but am also teaching a full three-credit class in writing. With so many planning details to attend to, plus many, many weeks of day time work still in front of me before departure, I hesitated to start posting about my plans and excitement too early.
I knew a young man once who was so enthused about a new job, he spent all his time telling friends about his new position and invested very little time in doing the work. He lost the position after a few weeks, and the boss allowed me to slide up into the vacancy without ever really applying for what was in actuality a coveted position. I’ve never really forgotten that little life lesson, and didn’t want to make his mistake my own.
Still, May is my anniversary month for this blog, so it’s fitting that I open up the third new year with a bit of a pop and bubbly. I am happily committed to continuing to share stories and photos in this space, but I may fool around with some new formatting for Looking For Local Color.
First off, though, I needed to switch out the spring flowers up top. After all, Charlottesville trees are immersed already in deep summer greenery. I won’t be around to see them put on their fall color show this year, trading that spectacle instead for a second round of spring as the ship heads over the equator in October.
Just the thought of being in the southern hemisphere opens doors in my brain.
Please join me as I flip over the world.
file under a bunch of colors, like a color wheel, or a merry-go-round!
I like to mix things up. Since my last post was a writing endeavor, this weekend’s post showcases a photography adventure. Last Saturday I participated in a Photo Scavenger Hunt, sponsored by two local groups—CPI, the Charlottesville Photography Initiative—and Phoozl — a playful website devoted to motivating photographers to—what else? take pictures!
The assignment was simple: pick up a list of the photo assignments, shoot a matching image on the Downtown Mall between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and upload them by 11 p.m. the next night.
My kind of contest. Low pressure, high fun. (Did I mention this would take place during the same time frame as the annual Dogwood Parade downtown?) And being a new contest, I had good odds of winning a prize due to a small number of entrants.
And I did! The electronic announcement came on Friday: Third prize, with judges’ comments. Whoo-hoo!
See for yourselves!
Bonus points if you can match the assignment to the image: GREEN; ROUND; FIND IT! SEAT OF HARMONY; LOOKING UP; FIND IT! GOING ROUND SINCE 1910; DINING; CLOSE UP; FIND THEM! 3 PRESIDENTS; WHO LOVES A PARADE?; REFLECTION; SIDEWALK SALES; and DUO. (Natalie’s guesses don’t count since she went with me!)
file 7,000 feet under GREEN
I suppose I did my part for Earth Day this year when The Hook published the essay I wrote after visiting West Virginia earlier this month. I went camping with Wild Virginia members to see first-hand the effects of industrialized natural gas drilling — i.e. fracking — in one particular county.
The timeliness of the piece was underscored when The Daily Progress ran a Sunday piece on the same topic.
If you don’t know too much about fracking yet yourself, these two pieces should be enough to start the educational process.
I can’t say that it makes for too much of a celebration, though.
And just like that it slips away…
One minute the Virginia landscape is dressing as if for the prom, donning lacy patterns of light green. Corsages of faint pink hang on redbud branches. Wind-swirled Bradford pear blossoms decorate the sidewalks. Were that a giant tulip magnolia blossom could be a boutonnière!
But unlike the drawn-out days of anticipation, whether for dance or daffodils, the long-awaited event comes, bursts and the pastel whispers give up their secrets. Spring is sprung, like so many dandelions. Intense yellows. Darker greens. No longer just hints of what is coming; it’s here.
Hello leaves! I missed you, too.
I have some catching up to do here, but it’s still early in the year. January morning commutes still require headlights. The sun has yet to fully illuminate 2013; the defroster has yet to completely melt the sparkle of the holidays.
Once I warm up, do plan to follow along.
file under WHITE, for more than snowflakes
Jim Wilson, property manager for the UVA Real Estate Foundation, took my phone call one day last week. He owned up to the effort made by the Foundation starting earlier this year to make some lasting changes to the overgrown slopes on the western side of the Boar’s Head pond.
“The whole area has been planted with perennial native grasses and flowers,” said Wilson, noting how the mechanical scraping and several weeks of eating by the hired Goatbusters allowed them to set the stage for planting a natural meadow. “We saved the decent-sized trees, and uncovered the rock formation—which we didn’t know was there. That was kind of neat,” he said.
Over the next two or three years, different native flowers, such as yarrow, will begin to appear on the approximately two-acre site. This year’s dazzling display of pink and purple Cosmos blooms—what Wilson aptly described as a “Land of Oz”—is primarily annuals, planted to give the slope an especially pretty first season. To some extent the Cosmos will reseed in future seasons, though Wilson acknowledged the view won’t likely provide the “pop” we saw this year.
The property manager credited most of the planning and sequencing to Ed Yates, a wild meadows specialist with J. W. Townsend, an Albemarle County firm, noting the new planting really has been “his baby.”
Creating natural looking meadows is Yates’ literal field of expertise, so much so, he was recently written up in a Wall Street Journal feature about the popularity of intentional meadow plantings. “We’ve been benefiting from his experience,” said Wilson. And so have the rest of us.
Thanks to all who had a hand in this project!