Friday, September 30, 2011

why, hello, old friend!

I thought I noticed you pass through a few weeks ago. The temperatures dropped, but that had fooled me. There was no crispness in the air, no chill that stayed overnight. Then last week, I thought I caught a glimpse of you through the trees. The calendar announced your arrival on the 23rd of September! I am a week late, but I recognized your appearance fully this morning! Your brilliance is starting to peek through the tips of branches.

There are sprinklings of you scattered all over the ground.

I love to see your colors! I love you giving me an excuse to wear my sweatshirts! I love your reminder that change is constant, but not neccessarily a bad thing. And I love that without fail, you make an appearance every year. Happy fall!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

crazy ride

Watch this crazy manuever: I am waiting at a local restaurant for a friend, posting my thoughts to the world. I know! It just broke my brain, too! I have some saved posts that I want to review and edit but I will make an effort to be more consistant about posting! (I said I would, Goma!) I will say that if I were eating Chinese food tonight, my fortune cookie fortune will most likely read "your next three weeks will be insane, but you will survive." I also know that writing about a new place will be fun and I look forward to that. But first I have hang on tight to this wild ride called "ekg's life."

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A Morning Run

I currently live at the battlefield in seasonal housing, a temporary living situation until I move to Louisiana (in 27 days!). I love where I live for many reasons, but I especially love the proximity to my favorite running trails. I just have to tie up my laces and walk out my door. This morning I ran and I could not have asked for a prettier greeting from the day. The temperature was in the low 60s and fog hung in the open fields. I love to see fog on the battlefield during the autumn months. The fog contributes to the hauntedness of the place. Fall mornings also provide sunrises that sear the sky with brilliant pinks and oranges. The breathtaking sights almost interfere with my run as I get distracted from focusing on my pace and heartrate. I try not to think about how much I will miss this place.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

all to' up

I have been working at making my move from my current park to my new park as easy as possible by making lists, documenting work, writing reports, and copying colleagues on emails. I don't mind the extra work but it makes me a little sad. I don't like thinking about leaving. Today I poured through (again) the National Park Service's Call to Action, a document launched five years short of the centennial of the NPS in order to address different issues within the park service. When I read through planning or management documents before, I thought of how it would impact my park. I was reading through the document today thinking of how it would impact this park (and how the park is already addressing some of these action plans), when it struck me that I need to start shifting my mindset. I have to start thinking of my new park. Eek! Change! The way I think will have to shift from making history relevant to making culture (and history and geography) relevant. I am also going to have to pull myself from all-things-Civil-War and that tears me up a little. I like history! I like talking about it! I like engaging about difficult issues, especially those stemming from American history (especially Civil War and Reconstruction!)! I like sparking interest about this topic, especially in kids! It doesn't really help that I have many personal investments tied to this place (I have one word for you: THESIS). I know I will make my way back. I already have plans to visit for the sesquicentennial symposium AND anniversary events. And I am usually one to look forward (because if you look behind you, you might trip on what lays before you). But grappling with this move is difficult for me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chinese Privet's Worst Nightmare

Now that the summer season has calmed down and we haven't quite reached the peak of our education programming, I am back to my parttime resource management work at the park. I cut down and chemically treat exotic, invasive plants at the battlefield. I worked in resources twice this week tearing it up.

Before my handywork:

After my handywork:

One both days, I had help from a volunteer (though on Saturday morning, I was working solo). We are trying to restore the battlefield's native ecosystem and the most active part of that is removing the exotic, invasive species. The two biggest culprits? Chinese Privet and Bush Honeysuckle. I step out with my work uniform, plastic goggles, rubber gloves, loppers, and spray bottle of herbicide, and those plants start a'shakin' in their roots. "Alright, pardners. There's a new sheriff in town."

Do you sense the fear in this Chinese Privet?

I have to work extra tomorrow in order to treat plants during some of our new tour road construction. Rest easy tonight, invasives, for it will be your last.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Place, New Park

Part of my visit to Lafayette was for me to get a feel for the area and the new park. My new park.

Evidently, recent storms knocked off the Arrowhead from the sign. I still found the site, though. I will be interpreting cajun culture, the history, and significance in Americana. The park ranger gave me a stack of books to help me learn as much as possible before I arrive.

I will read the books but this will be a new experience for me. I am moving to a new place in order to be a storyteller of the culture, a purveyor, if you will. I want to absorb as much as possible in order to effectively disseminate the information the best I can. People in the area are extremely friendly. I also hear the food is good (but I am not a huge fan of seafood... I don't know how that will play out in an area known for its seafood). The welcome centers put up by the state are well done. The Atchafalaya welcome center outside Lafayette even has a singing display to welcome you.

Too bad the park service doesn't use Animatronics to greet visitors.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Mission: Accomplished

Oh, technology. I want to hate you sometimes, but you also provide the resources to make life easier. Today, thanks to phones, texts, faxes, and emails, I got an approval for an apartment (my top choice) in less than 10 minutes. Well, I am one step from the approval, BUT it was indicated to me that it should be fine. The stress I have dealt with about my future living situatuon in the last 24 hours has dissappeared. Whew.

I will trek my way back to West Tennessee the afternoon/evening. Tomorrow morning I will drive back to Middle Tennessee and start the first day of my last month at work. I don't know how I feel about my last days. I try not to think about it in order not to be sad and think of the new adventures waiting for me in Louisiana.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bon Temps

Well, I have made it to Louisiana. The ladies at the welcome center gave me two pieces of advice. Where the speed limit drops to 60 mph here in a bit, make sure not to speed- they mean it. Also, by pants with elastic waistbands because with food so good around here, I will gain weight. Louisiana is already treating me well.

The welcome center door handle:

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Don't Cry Over Spilled Coffee

Before I even pulled out of the driveway, as I reached for my maps and directions, I knocked over my coffee (of which I neglected to secure the travel lid properly) and it spilled into my cupholder where my iPod was resting. Expletive! I hurriedly cleaned the mess, took a minute to calm down and say a prayer for the rest of my day, and breathed deep.

My iPod still works. And there was enough coffee left in my mug to last me until I could stop again. I just cranked up my dance/electronica mix and God provided the light show: the lightening was an amazing sight for 4:30am and seemed to complement the music well. I have stopped, stretched, and am ready to continue.

(I was not driving when I took this. There was nobody on the road so I could just stop...)

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Louisiana Bound (Temporarily)

My (awesomest) brother-in-law (ever!) guilted me into writing. For those that don't know, I hve accepted a permanent position with Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, specifically at the Acadian Cultural Center at Lafayette, Louisiana. I am currently sitting in my car (no, not driving...) and blogging! Oh, the wonders of technology.

Today is trip one of three to Lafayette for me. The purpose of today's trip us to scout out the town and hopefully find a place to live. Shall I keep you posted on my journey? I believe I shall.

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