Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Musings by Jeff

Today we experienced the joy of killing trees to make way for new, far more superior trees. I am of course referring to forestry. We traveled by van along a shady gravel road. Later we learned that it was shaded so well because the treacherous Eastern white pines along it had leaned in, trying to deny us of sunlight so that we would die like all the other living things it had conquered. The professor leading us was Dr. Ken Smith, who had come to Sewanee after seeing too much sap shed in the tropics. He was determined that the Eastern white pine would not suck the life out of the native oaks. At least, not while he had a breath left in his body.
Once at the site we toured around, and saw the ruts where Dr. Smith had been forced to call in reinforcements in the form of loggers. He showed us the blackened wood piles where he had burned bodies of trees that had fought against his students through the cold winter months and the long hot summers. We identified many native trees, or as I will call them, the good guys. Also, we compared the sites where Dr. Smith had simply burned the camp of the enemy rather than cut them down.
After seeing the aftermath of this great battle, all of our twenty-five thousand troops (at least it felt like that) crammed into one van and we left. As we rode down the ridiculously bumpy road we mourned for the compromises made, the lives lost, the necessary community networking that ultimately led to compromise (didn’t see that coming).
We had lunch. I ate food. It was good. That’s all you need to know.
Next, our grand adventure led us into the realm of Dr. Bachman, head of undergraduate research. We toured around the Biology and Chemistry labs in Spencer Hall. We saw many wondrous things with names that cannot be pronounced. And, we managed to stumble upon a prime specimen of the most rare kind. The summer laboratory assistant. Luckily, these dangerous creatures were kept in a locked room with wide, reinforced windows so that we could examine them in safety.
With our hearts pounding from this close encounter of (almost) the third kind we continued our journey to the organic garden of Sewanee. Sun, lots of sun. I was given the job of whacking the long grass with some type of tool, don’t ask me why, I just enjoyed trying to kill grass and any living thing that came in reach of my awesome, manual, weed whacker. On a completely unrelated topic, I noticed that while I was working, many of the other students chose to take a break. Although, when I stopped the continued to just sit there. I tried to faint of heatstroke to get their attention but it did not work. The fainting, not the getting their attention.
Then, as a reprieve from our many hours of labor, we were taken to the farmers market, to stare at vegetables. I, personally, had a lot of fun.
I know you are waiting at the edge of your seat to hear the end of this epic tale. But, I must take a moment to make a personal shout-out to my friends and family. You people I’m supposed to have been inspired by have really inspired me in so many ways. I just can’t remember any of them at this time. Don’t ask me later either ‘cause you know I’m bad at pop quizzes. Or any quiz. Did any of you teach me how to study? Wow, I am bad at this shout-out thing.
Quick, back to the story of our day. After all of this drama, we finally made it back to the safety of Spencer Hall. There, we listened to a talk by Martin Pate, the guy who makes people pick up litter and tells them to be green. He told us that if we don’t become green soon, we face the end of the world. This made me pause and think. First, who cares? The year 2012? Hello? It’s a little too late. Then, I thought to myself, Why should we be green? With envy? That guy has a better Smart car. Or, that guy only takes a shower once a week to minimize water usage. Personally, I am envious. Imagine what it must be like to be able to knock anyone out by simply lifting your armpits. Hmm… Maybe that’s not it. Perhaps someone didn’t brush their teeth today. Uh-oh. Now we really are talking about loss of human life. Us.
With this valuable change in perspective, I wandered back to the dorm thinking about sleeping when I saw a post-it note telling me I had to write this blog thing. It is now three o clock in the morning. I hope you’re happy.

Jeff Hoagland

(editor's note.. overly-dramatic Jeff submitted this at 9:12 pm - don't believe everything you read)

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