I've noticed for the past week (and a little more) that the bluebirds have once again taken up their post atop the purple martin pole - like last year, I neglected my purple martin duties over the past few months, and like last year, bluebirds have taken advantage of my neglect (and while I really, truly, wanted to foster purple martins - I must say that watching bluebirds raise two nests of young last year was a pleasure).
The purple martin house is placed in between two vegetable garden beds, and while I weed or plant or ponder or, quite frankly, simply stand, it is fun to have the bluebirds as my daily companions.
(Image credit goes to our collaborator).
Today was another Wednesday, another gathering of the laboratory around a conference table for our weekly meeting. Today the senior graduate student brought in a crockpot of chicken and dumplings, an attempt at a family recipe (his grandmother's I believe) -- and the conversation, typically meandering, had folks talking about their view of the perfect dumpling. His were homemade, cut into strips, plain - and were quite delicious I thought.
Then we talked about the repair of the Beckman centrifuge (a service quote has been received?), the amount of time it will take to wrap up the bacterial isolations from the most recent sampling trip to Puerto Rico (two weeks perhaps?), and the registration deadline for the ICRS meeting (today!). Then we raced through a student's presentation, thinking broadly, thinking story, thinking clarity - rename the title of the model, change the histogram colors, perhaps rethink the order (marine natural products then chemical ecology?), defining the mesoglea, maybe a different final slide (revisit the model?)...a presentation that we will scrutinize up until we no longer can.
However, before launching into the student's run through of the powerpoint presentation (the one in preparation for the student's oral defense of her dissertation proposal), Katherine shared a poem with us.
Coral Shallows by David St John
From PRISM (2002, ARCTOS Press, Sausalito, CA)
Marble angel are you still there standing
On the coral beach in Key West calling me on
Your cell phone to say I’m sorry it was all just another
Misunderstanding one of so many we seem to be
Having lately as those quaint tongues of death creep
Up the legs of our own shadows but for my part
I keep my talismans close --- my necklace with
Its wing of silver lit by turquoise & red coral
& obsidian which the old woman in the pueblo
Fastened around my neck saying You are a creature
Of blood inflamed as coals & this wing will
Life you above the fields of sorrow
She really said that & you said So here I am 3,000 miles
Away beside shallows reeking of green primeval sex