Monday, June 17, 2013

Stars are Projectors

Summer feels like it is here. The rollerskis see plenty of use. The dirt's felt a few footsteps. But every once in a while, I dream. I dream of the next time I can get on the real white stuff. With the snow pack leaving the Cascades so fast this year, I wasn't able to make it onto the ski trails or for the early morning crust cruises above Bend like season's past. That's alright, though. The longform human engine building feels like it's right on track. And when I get back into these hills below the Dachstein Glacier, it will be that much more special.

With school easing up a bit and no late-spring ski trip in the plans, I am sure a rogue visit to the slot canyons in Utah will soon be calling for a southern excursion.

An image from last year's trip into Emery County's Black Hole. 

Before that, though, I will be heading back to Washington for five days. I have a directed study assignment for class, one that a Washington business wanted me back for so bad they had no problem flying me to the home stomping grounds to act as an "outside communication expert." It wasn't hard to say yes to this request. With Mr. Peck retiring from Osborn Elementary, I also look to meet up with a teacher or two and see if continuing the In The Arena work in their classrooms will make for a perfect fit. First on the list to visit is Carl Haberberger. I grew up with Carl in Leavenworth. These days, he's teaching at Orchard Middle School - which I believe is where my ITA and USST Alumni  teammate Laura Valaas once put in four years of learning.

Carl's also a coach at the local high school, Wenatchee High. I don't think I'd have much expertise to offer the running backs of the varsity football team this fall, but volunteering to help with the track team could be interesting. Here's Mr. Haberberger with Isaiah Brandt-Sims, the fastest high schooler in Washington two years running.

Next time I'm sure to update you on trip back to the Pacific Northwest.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Scenes from School: Salt Lake City Edition

After finishing a ten-day intensity block and being all caught up on my university book learning I had no more excuses for not heading out to the Great Salt Lake. Today made a fine day to be in the second saltiest body of water in the world. The brine flies were away, and one could go bob bob bobbing away in the brackish waters outside the once world famous Saltair Palace. On the paddleboard, you could look down and see reddish-brown plumes of brine shrimp hatching.

Even better, the last surviving building of the Coney Island of the West (hint, it is the only one not built of wood) was open, so I got to look around and see the old photos from a hundred years ago. Back then that the place was alive in regal opulence. It is so surprising to find places that time forgot in America, especially in the western United States. Everything feels like it was built in the last fifty years here. And, really, you could not believe the scene that one stood on these salty flats - boardwalks, a special passenger train just for the resort, the world's biggest rollercoaster - all here. Today you can find plenty of solitude at Saltair.

Another view from the lake. The water's there, I promise. It's just that the flatness of the geography plays tricks on the eyes. The lake resides as the bottom of ancient bottom to Lake Bonneville that once covered much on the Intermountain West. Today the waterline ebbs and flows with the snowmelt and each passing thunderstorm.

So far this summer  plenty of thunderstorms have made their way through Utah, though I know the brutally hot summer afternoons are coming. This makes watching the last rays of the day slip away with a storm brewing above that much better.

And the fifth graders back at Osborn Elementary? I think they are doing alright. The young scientists made it onto the big screen again, this time to discover and talk about the vitality of the Wenatchee River that rushes by.

Nature Education at Barn Beach with Mr Peck's 5th Grade Class from Icicle TV on Vimeo.

Until next time. -T.