I knew today would be a good day when I got The Naturalist's Notebook's mail and saw a homemade envelope—made of a folded black paper bag—addressed to "Craig and Pamelia Nature" and sent from some group called "Weird Science."
It gets better. The brochure inside invited us to the "International Conference of Experiments," to be held in late July on an island not far from The Naturalist's Notebook. The intriguing event ("Wear hats! And scientific gear...come as someone else or come as you aren't”) promised us the chance to witness "an infinity locator" ("It uses string theory. And cheese.") and was said to be funded in part by the "Center for the Advancement of Cubist Plastic Surgery."
Of course, this was a party invitation. Judging from my DNA analysis of the envelope glue, it may have come from a very cool fellow named Sam Shaw, a contemporary-jewelry artist who owns a great shop in Northeast Harbor, Maine. In any case, it was brilliant and funny and full of profound questions.
Why, for example (the party organizers ask) do "weird" and "science" both defy—in opposite ways—the old spelling rule "i before e except after c"? Ten points to anyone who can come up with another English-language term that does that.
Reading the invitation was only the second-strangest experience of the day, mind you. The strangest was having a wire-service reporter come into The Naturalist's Notebook to interview me about President Obama's visit to Mount Desert Island this weekend. No sitting president has come to the island since William Howard Taft almost exactly 100 years ago, and people on MDI are abuzz.
The scuttlebutt is that the First Family might stay in the home of former Maine senator George Mitchell in Seal Harbor, though the reporter says he thinks the Obamas will be residing in Bar Harbor. Either way, this week is shaping up as an eventful one on our corner of the island. Artists Margaret Krug and Kathy Coe are both arriving to give workshops at the Notebook. Margaret's "Seeing and Drawing" program will take place this Saturday and Kathy's nature-themed kids' art classes begin next Monday and run for four weeks. And photographer-naturalist Tom Lawrence is leading more hikes.
Stay tuned for any news, weird or otherwise.