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I'm afraid of my own weariness, but I have hope for this world. [01 Jul 2016|11:06am]
Years ago, I assumed that sacrifices could be temporary, and now I'm not so sure. There are a few possibilities:

Putting aside parts of one's self for a while in order to focus on pushing through challenging times is simply a matter of priorities; past the hard times comes a chance to feel whole again.

You can be different things at different times, but not all of those things all of the time.

Repression is what it's called. Or atrophy, depending on which parts of yourself you neglect to live out.

I haven't written regularly in years, and I forgot how much it helped to pull my identity together and draw out a deeper understanding of otherwise inchoate desires. Without it, I stay afloat as well as I can, but I don't feel anchored.

When I was younger, I was more inclined to mysticism-- I had a sense that I would finally feel right in the world once I figured out the right combination of steps: how to work in the community, how to step lightly, how to connect, how to create. I tried out as many combinations as I could grasp at, and have turned to something simpler: find work that adds up to something you can be proud of, that requires spending your day-to-day life in a way that suits your nature. I might not have a nature that is well suited to ease in many circumstances-- I'm scatterbrained, I'm anxious, I'm frequently morose. But I'm also shrewd, insightful, dogged, creative, empathetic, and charismatic. I've narrowed down the goals, but I no longer expect to feel right in a world of constant shifting chaos. Perhaps that's a healthier expectation, or maybe I'm just worn out.

I've made a big gamble with my near-future. We'll see where I wind up.
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I miss this forum [21 Apr 2015|09:50am]
Anyone still out there?
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herp derp (har har) [07 May 2012|08:10pm]
What I have to research to ask better research questions:
What sort of impact do prescribed burns have on Oak Savannah?
What sort of impact have prescribed burns had on other populations of box turtles?

Once I start understanding how box turtles typically use their habitat and how prescribed burns can impact that habitat, then I'll know what questions to ask about how prescribed burns are affecting/can affect THIS population.
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[06 May 2012|09:00pm]
Another semester behind me. Solid.

Here's what I'm interested in right now:
species microhabitat studies (i.e. my summer job)
researching chaplaincy
electric guitar
reading (Carson McCullers & Adrienne Rich)
travel plans (possibly long distance cycling & camping)
makin' stuff, doin' stuff
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Where the deer bed down [24 Mar 2012|05:26pm]
I skipped my 6-9PM class on Thursday so that I could do at least SOMETHING enjoyable for my birthday. Steve and I loaded up on delectables from Deepam’s deli case, and blasted out through country roads to the oak barrens. The radio was broadcasting a steady stream of weather reports—tornadoes were striking in the northern part of the “listening area”, and the sky over the wide, open fields was dramatically vacillating between ecstatic sunshine and fat, dark clouds—rain would smack against the windshield for a few seconds, then evaporate. The sky would light up, the car would get hot, and the windows would go back down. Wind and sun would fill the car, the radio announcers would rattle off counties—still far enough north to keep driving, but not far enough north to trim off the edge of danger.

We parked by the sand dunes and trekked out along deer paths to my favorite spot—along a corner of pines planted as a Depression era public works project, on the edge of a tall grass prairie. White tail deer bed down in the soft needles that line the ground under the pines, and it’s no wonder why: it is beautiful and safe in this place, the air is calm, the ground is dry; it is private and sun-warmed.

This is where we feasted on our North Indian deli picnic, where we both laid down to listen to the birds and amorous frogs until the sunlight began to fade and the air chilled.

Home again, home again. The storms had been forgotten, but we had our reminder driving north toward a sooty sky. They were heading west, though, not toward us; at home, the animals were still ranging about, dogs loping through the yard, cats guarding the chickens. I stood on the dock watching the shadows of catfish moving just below the surface in the murky water, and something seemed important about both the divide between our two worlds and the illusory contact.

The barn cat came out and watched them with me.
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grounding [17 Dec 2011|12:48am]
An old friend of mine committed suicide.  Benzos and opiates.  I know everyone says nice, sad things about people when they kill themselves, but she really was an incredible person.  A total mess-- bipolar with substance-abuse issues-- but so incredibly kind and wise that the insights I gained from knowing her caused radical shifts in my life and understanding of the world. 
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Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front | Wendell Berry [18 Nov 2011|11:43am]
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion - put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

from "The Country of Marriage"
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[16 Nov 2011|01:21pm]
How does research become instrumental in advocacy?
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[21 Oct 2011|10:01pm]
Being sick really puts a kink in any plans that don't involve sleeping for 14 hours a day.
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Levels of abstraction and moral feeling [09 Oct 2011|12:13am]
One of Steve's friends wanted to use his barbecue to grill some meat he'd bought at the store, but first he brushed out the bugs because he didn't want to kill them.
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[18 Sep 2011|06:31pm]
But also happily:
I find love effortlessly. I have incredible beauty around me that I need do nothing to procure. The gears turn.

This is the time for that which is at hand. I have all of the tools I need. I made the decision to be where I am, doing what I'm doing; I entered into this willfully: the intimacy and familiarity, the dilligence. A keen and steady mind and an active body. This is what it's like now.
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[18 Sep 2011|06:11pm]
With just a little bit of free-time, my heart reverts back into its full-fledged longing. What is it that feels incomplete that isn't simply a condition of living? I want a dream-town with endless leafy sidewalks and the comforting boudoir of shoreline and hinterland. I want perpetual childhood, and flinty, fine-tuned agility honed by intensity, capability-- bright, new, hard. I want a different relationship with my mind. I want to feel at home, instead of suspended. I want good food and meaningful work. I want muscles and brains and songs and wet oil paint to shape, sunlight and shade, the living quick of an old, old place, stories, something to discover.

For the time being, I have the life of the mind, mostly math and physics and chemistry, sometimes this daydreaming.
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happy with rigor [16 Sep 2011|10:37am]
I always feel my best when I've been compelled to be incredibly active. The nature of work that I'm attracted to has meant that these periods of intense activity have involved both strenuous exercise (urban farming, bicycle transportation, hiking, shepherding, distance running) and intense intellectual engagement (youth mentorship, field studies, scholarly journal reading, academic study, research presentation). I typically deal better with the physical exertion-- something of a given considering that exercise typically involves eustress and, especially as someone with inattentive ADD, deliberate mental focus mostly involves distress (if only I could harness hyperfocus like a beast of burden and plow through work all but effortlessly...). As much as I love flow, I've also come to thrive on the expansion that is driven by self-discipline.
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Kingdom of Impossible Territories [09 Sep 2011|12:57pm]
I wrote when I was young because I imagined a reader who would understand. In the absence of anyone safe or interested in whom I could confide, writing was a way of feeling contact that was possible, though not immediately present. Someone, somewhere, was like me-- like the writers I read. Across distance and time I could have a voice, even if I was best off silent and invisible in my daily life. Even if the connection was a fantasy, projected into a safer and less lonesome future, I had faith in the words I put down in little notebooks that needed to be hidden away. I wrote like it was some sort of prayer. I narrated my solitary child's life, spun stories into games with no other players. Too frequently either bullied or ignored, it was hard for me to recognize the friends I did have for what they were at the time: the ones who did no harm, who played along, who also knew how to keep quiet and keep out of sight.
Now what? Something has changed. I don't narrate in my thoughts. There is little that feels pressing or important enough to take note like I once did.

Which is a lie. The difference is that, now, I have listeners. But I miss the feeling of a vast inner-world that develops from solitude. I miss playing with stories, allowing myself to temporarily inhabit impossible territories.

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[10 Jun 2011|03:02pm]
I've been hiking somewhere between 5-6 hours most days out of the last week (a little lighter before that), and it feels incredible in the way it always does when I'm this active.  I sleep soundly, my moods are even, and I only want to eat real food. 
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"Geek" the verb [02 Jun 2011|11:33am]
In trying to track down research papers tied to local regional conservation efforts, I found a local naturalists' association that has FIELD TRIPS.  

Forget that I'm carrying around cortisone cream everywhere I go to help cope with the bug bites that I'm covered in from field work.  
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[24 May 2011|06:06pm]
Second week into my research project and  I think this is going to be a good summer.  In the lab & in the field, and then on my own piecing things together. 
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making rhymes [07 May 2011|11:12pm]
your home is a ship with a hole in its sails
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sangha [27 Apr 2011|06:45pm]
I checked out a vipassana meditation/dharma group last week, and was sort of bowled over by the impact it had on me.  I want to write about this, and it's nagging at me-- BUT! I have a paper due! 


This counts as my statement of intention to write about this topic further!

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[27 Apr 2011|12:25pm]
My mom got the results back on the genetic screening for mutations related to breast & reproductive cancers-- after losing her own mother to breast cancer and having two of her sister diagnosed with ovarian (and fallopian) cancer in the last few months, we've found out that my mom is in the clear.  She doesn't carry the mutations.  Therefore, I don't carry the mutations, my sister doesn't carry the mutations, my niece doesn't carry the mutations, etc.  We're all at no higher risk than the general population.  My mom's response?  "I feel like I just took a thirty-pound shit.  That sounds crude, but..."  She is a bit infamous for her skillful use of colorful language, after all.
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