Saturday, February 02, 2008
Where I Need To Be
A Friday afternoon pep rally ahead of the biggest basketball rivalry game of the year is a rich cacophony of sounds. Our new gym is great, but someone apparently spilled coffee on the part of the blueprints where accoustic enhancements were mentioned, so every sound is amplified with a tinnyness that pierces the brain.
Toss in 350 middle schoolers on the left side bleachers, 200 high schoolers on the right, with a dozen cheerleaders egging them on to be LOUDER, LOUDER, LOUDER and you have a din.
For a quiet guy like me, it's an unnatural environment, although not an unpleasant one. It's good to see the kids fired up and excited. The teachers standing against the gym walls are pretty excited too, but they are thinking, " Whew, TGIF".
It's screechy loud in the gym, but it's where I need to be.
When it's over and that last bell rings, the middle school kids ignore the student MC who screams into the microphone for them to be seated until the high schoolers exit. What was she thinking?
I slip out a side door avoiding the masses so I can get to the bus loading area for my "bus duty". It's a rotating duty that will end soon, but for a few more weeks I am responsible for keeping the peace at the bus loading zone after school.
It's not that bad really, and it's where I need to be.
Back in the class, after bus duty, I straighten up my messy room. There's a student teacher coming in on Monday to observe me, and for now, I want him to see how a classroom should look, not how it usually looks.
I'd rather be out of here, but Monday, I will be glad I took the time to clean up the counters, fix the seating arrangement, and clear off my paper shrouded desk.
Not much fun, but it's where I need to be.
A half hour later, I'm done, and the weekend begins. Sorta ... in two hours, I'll need to be back in the gym at my son's basketball game (the big rivalry).
So, I can't go home. It's 20 miles home so that is out of the question. I'll need to stay nearby until 6:00 pm ... game time.
Lucky for me, Devils Hammock Wildlife Management Area is nearby and the sun is still high and bright on this Friday afternoon.
I cruise in to the empty park, bouncing quickly down the dirt roads. I have limited time and I need a spot with sunlight if I am to get any decent photos. The JEEP zips through forested sections, turtles plop from logs, a six foot gator slides into the roadside ditch with a swoosh, and a blue heron swoops ahead of me, but they are not my target today.
The roadside bushes seem full of little LGB's and I'm looking for a well lit spot to stalk them.
Finally, I round a corner to find a brushy ditch bathed in golden late day light. LGB's are flitting about everywhere. The JEEP slides as I hit the brakes hard on the gravel road. When it stops, I slip her into reverse, tuck the JEEP into the roadshoulder brush, and unzip the driver window.
I'm quiet for a while, letting things calm down after my clumsy stop. Have I scared them away?
Nope, I can hear them in the brush and the little flycatchery looking bird is staring at me intently from a saplings top. Every once in a while he jumps up, flutters toward me, and then realights in what must be a territorial display.
Pssssshhhhhhhhht! Pssssshhhhhhhhhhhttt! I start calling in the LGB's and for the next hour, the action is fast and furious. The bushes are quivering with small birds who seem to be inspecting every inch of the bare naked twigs adornng the ditchbank trees.
Of course, I only capture a sample of these with the camera, but overall the JEEP is doing an excellent imitation of a photographic blind.
The time slips by, almost as fast as the sun setting behind the trees behind me. I check my watch ... 5:35 pm. In a few minutes, I'll have to leave to make it to Junior's basketball game in time.
But for now ...
...I am right where I need to be.