Friday, September 4, 2015

Reflection (9/4/2015)

Amazing, this blog was started as a photo blog.  I posted a nice picture from my sailboat on June 25, 2013, with just an amazingly simple one sentence statement, that had less depth than something a 6th grader would write.  I used to be an avid photographer and this was my way of trying to get back to my hobby.  Moreover, since I would be traveling to a different part of the state of Virginia to teach every week, I felt it was a great opportunity to share some pictures of the often beautiful sights or at least my views of the State.  Finally, it also was a way for me to let off some steam.  That day was the first day of a forced move where I and my program moved from one State agency to another State agency and that caused a lot of anxiety to the group of people who were forced to move to the other agency.  We did not feel welcome at all, there were definitive signs that we were not, and we did not know what would happen.  Comparing notes among colleagues now, the anxiety has gone away and we feel accepted and fine where we are.  Now just a raise and everything will be fine!

From left to right these are the three locations I have successively worked at in Richmond over the past six years (left DCR, DEQ to the right and what I would call the half way house in the middle) .  I have not been job (employer) hopping, just forced building hopping and agency shifting.

In fact, I really did started this blog for me.  I announced my blog to no one; not even my family.  I did not want my ego or anything else to get in the way of expressing myself and doing what I did.  I had no ambition with this blog.  Little did I know this darn blog would grow up to be like this.  When I post this entry, it will be my 254th.

Looking back through some of the posts I put up, there definitively is a trend.  I have become more verbose; I have become bolder; more outspoken; become a bit more of the teacher that I am in real life; maybe too self-indulgent; and taking myself a bit too serious?  Yes, I have always tried to include an outside link or two (too much Wikipedia maybe) since I do not want to claim to be a “know it all”, but as I mentioned in this blog post, there is a lot of stuff stored in that big head of mine.

Did I mention my big head?  This picture was taken last year during a nature walk in the Roanoke area last fall (2014) after a fun day of lecturing in a nature retreat.
So why write about this now?  There is no anniversary of this blog or of the move to DEQ.  Well, this past Thursday morning I read an article in the newspaper about a Dutchman with the name Jaap Haartsen.  Mr. Haartsen is the inventor of the Bluetooth.  He invented it while working for Ericsson in Sweden.  It seems that he only works (worked) 40 hours per week, turns his phone off at 6 pm and does not check emails in the evenings and on weekends.  Moreover he goes hiking on weekends.  It claims that his way of recharging and reconnecting with real life is what he needs to be inventive and creative.  This is very different from what we see here in the U.S.  When I came in the office this morning, the first thing my supervisor said was "have a productive day" (and he says that almost every day), that is what our U.S. culture seems to be increasingly based on, productivity, not creativity.  It would be so much nicer if he would wish me "a creative day", because that is what course design should be, especially when your dorder it fromantic scratch.  I think Google is still doing it right, giving people an hour or so do do something different, but the Amazons and other groups, it seems like they are just emphasizing putting in hours and mouse clicks.

So the story about Jaap Haartsen made me think about this YouTube clip that I saw recently on Nature RX; it is a spoof on the need to reconnect with nature,  I have written a lot about it in my blogs and borrowed the phrase "nature deficit disorder."  Looking at the labels, I have used the term in at least 20 blogs of the 253 that I have written up to now.  I used Nature 79 times as a label on posts.  I do think it is so darn important to reconnect with nature, with ocean, with water, you name it; just the natural world.  I find it disarming, calming.  As the naturalist John Burroughs wrote:

"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order"

No, I will not invent the next Bluetooth, but it brings down the blood pressure; it is where I formulate a lot of my ideas for my classes, my blog and just life.

We went for a sundown/moon rise kayak trip last Saturday which culminated with a picnic dinner on a narrow sandy peninsula in the bay.  It was very private and the views were spectacular.  This is what I call taking care of your "Nature Deficit Disorder", while even getting some exercise. 

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