Real life

monkey_on_my_back.jpg“The written word is weak.  Many people prefer life to it.”

Annie Dillard

That’s my excuse.  I’ve been living life, rather than recording it.  Ye gods, it’s been over a month.  And here’s my little secret: It feels great!  I’ve been learning a lot as I’ve meandered along, feeling my way, with the Natural Patriot.  But I cannot tell you how refreshing it’s felt to just forget about it for a while.  I don’t want to say that blogging has been a monkey on my back, but, well . . .

People often ask me: “Where do you find the time to blog?”  I answer them honestly: “I don’t!” Time spent doing this is stolen from something else.  Generally sleep, interactions with real humans like my family, and/or productive work.  And deficits of all of those things take their toll.  Recently I’ve been reminded of the value of doing all those things. Hence the long silence.  I don’t mean to whine or anything.  But there it is.

Right.  I am posting this partly in order to quell any fears among faithful readers that I have experienced some sort of tragedy that’s kept me from my rounds here. I haven’t. And the Natural Patriot will be back in the saddle again soon. 

But I also feel I’ve learned an important, small lesson that may be worth sharing.  Based on my experiences of the last month, I can strongly recommend the following general approach.  I will propose it a as three-step program:

1) Turn off your computer. After reading this of course. 

2) Go outside.  Adjust your vision to a world that spans more than 20 inches diagonally and that exists in three dimensions.  Wave some smelling salts under your other four senses and wake them up.  It may take them a while to get going again.  Listen to the spring peepers — I heard them tonight, while planting spindly little tomatoes in our new naked little garden plot in the last few photons of the day (more about that later). If you don’t hear spring peepers, listen to something else, anything — crickets, pigeons, wind. Silence. Stay out if it starts to rain, or if you get a chill.  Feel your body begin to cope with the shiver.  

And here is the key:

3) Keep doing this for a while.  The real world works on a very different time scale than the virtual one. Seeds need time to grow and all that. Sleeping outside for several nights in a row helps a lot.

earth-hands.jpgThere’s a lot I could tell, and I may yet do so, about recent activities.  Backpacking with the lad was good, for example.  I may return to that.  For now, however, I want to get back in the queue (is that the correct spelling?) because Earth Day is this week and I feel some sort of mystical Naturally Patriotic duty not to allow this most sacred of occasions to pass without comment of some sort.  Even if I am listening to spring peepers with the computer off. 

For now, I will close with only one item of news related to both my activities of the last week and the upcoming Earth Day, primarily for my local homies.  As many of you know, Governor Kaine of Virginia has established a Commission on Climate Change and charged it to hold a series of meetings to figure out and advise him on what is going on in this state, where we are headed, and what we can do about it. 

The third meeting of the Governor’s Climate Change Commission will be held on Earth Day, 22 April (day after tomorrow), and is open to the public.  I strongly encourage all Virginians who can attend to do so, and to make your voices heard on this critical issue.

guv-commission-logo.jpgThe meeting will be held at the University Center of The College of William and Mary.  The agenda, presentations, location, and other information can be found here. The meeting runs from 10:00 Am to 5:00 PM, with public comment at the end.  I will be one of those making a presentation, in my case on impacts of climate change on coastal ecosystems and living marine resources.  I’ve been told that the last meeting in Charlottesville attracted a strong student presence and the Commission took their comments very seriously.  This is a chance to make democracy work — please do your part if you can.

Thank you for your attention, and your patience.  Y’all come back. 

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About Emmett Duffy

I am a Natural Patriot and an ecologist with expertise in biodiversity and its importance to human society. My day job is Professor of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
This entry was posted in Biodiversity, Biophilia, Blogospheria. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Real life

  1. Steven says:

    There’s a “real” world outside of the virtual world?!? Yes—isn’t it nice to get away from blogging for a while and enjoy life itself? Ah, but our commitment to environmental issues calls us back to our duty. Thank goodness for days like Earth Day to help pull us, and the world as a whole, back into focus on the environment. It’s like an earlier Mother’s Day—this one being for “Mother Earth”!

  2. JoJo says:

    I suppose I prefer life to it too! I really enjoy reading your blog. Tell us how the governors commission goes! You have my support, even from down in Florida!

  3. Edgar Brown says:

    Your blog helps keep me mindful, through the myriad distractions of a life well lived, of my avocation to encourage people to find ways, that work for them personally, of striving to be more a part of, less apart from, the natural world. Keep up the provocative writing! Even with surrogates if need be! Is my sense of urgency a false perception?

  4. Emmett Duffy says:

    Thanks for the positive feedback all! Nice to hear, especially atfer being away for a while.

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