Over the weekend, I joined my parents in attending a gun show. Normally I find these events to be a waste of my time. Most of the vendors display modern weapons with composite stocks, overly-priced shotguns, antiques from WWI and WWII, or handguns with slides and clips. But none of these guns interest me. I'm not into shooting sports (although I was an archery instructor for a summer camp), and hunting in my little neck of the woods is not good enough to justify spending more than $300-$450 on a shotgun.
We've been experiencing another wet spring and early summer here in Pennsylvania. Warm temperatures in the 80s have only lasted for a few days at a time, and rain and overcast skies have dominated most weeks. Many of my elders have yet to turn on their air conditioning units, and my bedroom window is void of its usual fan. For the first time this year, I plugged in my dehumidifier this weekend.
The other evening, I was browsing through some of my wildlife photography, looking for shots to share with a friend. I have thousands of photos I've taken over the years, and for the first time, I recognized the amount of improvement I've made. Although I still end up with my fair share of crappy shots when I take my camera for a hike, the quality of the photos worth keeping has grown.
Now that we are into May, my spring fieldtrip season is in full swing. I'm teaching classes on wetlands, wildlife, plants, and ecology every week. It's a great time to introduce students to the changes in the environment around them as spring slowly drifts into summer. Often it amazes me what things are completely unfamiliar to them, such as willow flowers, crayfish, or salamanders. But it's also exciting to introduce them to things for the first time that I usually take for granted. Even though these students are with me for only a few short hours out of their entire academic childhood, sometimes it's enough to open new doorways for them and spur them into a lifelong love of nature.
Numerous people keep notebooks by their beds to record details of their dreams upon waking. There are various reasons why people take up this practice, but artists and writers who do this are often looking for inspiration for their projects. Sometimes putting nightmares into words or visual art or music can be cathartic for those who truly find them frightening. Those of us finding pleasure in horror genres may simply find nightmares too intriguing to resist sharing with the waking world.
While painting and sketching will always remain a hobby for me, they are still activities in which I want to develop my skills. As I've explained previously, these types of visual arts can help me with my writing process, particularly when I'm trying to hammer out details or rid myself of a distraction. Over the past few days, I have been doing the latter, working on a fanart project that has been distracting my mind from my current manuscript.
For me, New Year's Eve is a night to stay in and relax. I may watch one of the First Night countdowns on TV, but chances are better that you'll find me tuning in to some educational marathon or a good movie. Many of my friends and relatives do the same. We're not late-night party people. (Most of us prefer caffeine to alcohol!) But with 2019 starting in just a few hours, we are trying to set some goals and make plans for the new year.