Monday, March 12, 2007

DNA trail

Well. It's been a solid week without internet access that didn't cost me a dollar a minute, so aside from one quick adventure in emptying the accumulated spam from my email box I have been living in a de-blogified zone. The good news is that I've collected stories and made sketches suitable for blogging. The bad news is that I'm not in a space to scan the sketches or edit the adventure just yet. I'm still on the road! In New York for one more day, then back to Philadelphia for the trip west. It's been colder than... (insert suitable expletive here) on the East Coast, and the chisme from home says it's been 60 and fabulous there. Ain't that always the case?

Potential trip topics-to-come: Darwin's dead finches, Audubon's dead buntings, monster fossil fish from the inland sea, a man with "a Frenchie aspect," organic dairies, sour silage, gorgeous jersey cows, the extraordinary lives of ordinary people, generosity among strangers, bad apples, chickens in the mist, more cars in one parking lot than exist in my home county, birding Central Park on a Sunday after a rain, weak coffee, strong tea, head-bashing butterflies. Let's see.... what else?

A list of known places I've left DNA scraps in the form of broken fingernails in the last 8 days: a NWA jet (wrestling my bag into the overhead bin), a hostel in Philadelphia (cracked on the bed frame), the Academy of Natural Sciences (no idea, they just disappeared), a just-tilled farm in Pennsylvania (probably fending off the muddy cat who insisted on crawling over me, my backpack, and my drawing papers), Central Park (climbing across a rock to draw a pond), the New York subway ('nuff said). And the wastepaper basket of the New York apartment in which I am presently holed up.

You must understand that my nails are typically short and unadorned to begin with. Ordinarily I wouldn't even notice, but this morning's snap represented a new record: on this trip absolutely every single nail across both hands has been mangled for the sake of art and nature and mucking about in the big wide world. I realize it's not the USUAL sort of suffering for one's craft, but for now it's the best I can do. I'm having too much fun otherwise.


  1. Sounds like you had fun!

    But broken nails ... urk.

    I normally keep my nails at mid-length. They're quite useful in certain aspects of lab work.

    Cutting them is the last thing I do when I prepare for field work. It's almost become a ritual.

  2. Who knew field sketching would have such repercussions in both science AND fashion, eh?

    My ritual, Snail, is trying to remember to put a nail file in my bag, to deal with the inevitable development of claws.


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