Life has been a tad busy lately. Either Pamelia or I (or both) have regularly been up at 4 a.m. to start work on the 10-to-the-27th-power preparatory tasks that must be done by The Naturalist's Notebook's season opening on June 20. The tasks range from the mundane (unpacking boxes of books and honey and bird-friendly coffee) to the unusual (standing on a stepladder trying to attach a skull to a flying skeleton) to the challenging (writing simple, concise display text about complicated science topics) to the interactive (communicating with the scores and scores of people with whom we are collaborating in one way or another, from artists to mathematicians to botanists to puzzle makers).
The fact that I unthinkingly typed "10-to-the-27th-power" just now reflects the state of my brain: The other day, in the course of my never-ending Notebook research, I learned that the number of atoms in a typical human body is seven times 10 to the 27th power. That's a 7 with 27 zeroes after it. Somehow I find that interesting to know.
We sometimes think we're crazy for attempting to combine so many ideas and people and installations and items, but the Notebook seems to have created a fascinating energy field that has drawn people of all ages to it. We often describe the Notebook as a walk-in magazine, which it is; but because we interact with visitors and collaborators so much, every day, Pamelia also calls our season "16 weeks of live theater." Unscripted theater, I might add. The element of surprise ought to be in life's periodic table, as prominently placed as hydrogen and oxygen are in chemistry's periodic table.
Surprise is its own form of atomic energy.
Guess what? I have to go. Three College of the Atlantic students and one visiting friend from Nova Scotia are joining us shortly for a whirlwind of creative activity inside the little century-old building at 16 Main Street in Seal Harbor, Maine. Good things are happening in there, and it's fun to be part of it.
Happy Belated Father's Day
Answer to the Last Puzzler:
State insect match-up:
1) Connecticut: praying mantis
2) Maine: honeybee
3) Delaware: ladybug
4) Pennsylvania: firefly
Match the state with its state fish:
a) Land-locked salmon
b) Large-mouth bass
d) Striped bass
Stan Laurel, the English-born comic actor, would have turned 121 years old this week. Never mind that Pamelia and I sometimes feel like Laurel and Hardy as we bumble our way through Notebook preparations; Laurel deserves Notebook blog mention because he was creative, made the occasional science/nature film (who can forget Tree in a Test Tube (1942), done with U.S. Department of Agriculture to enlighten viewers about trees and wood products?) and remained approachable enough that in his final years, while he was living in an apartment in Santa Monica, Calif., his number was listed in the phone book. Strangers called and chatted with him all the time.
Stan Laurel ("Another fine mess you've gotten us into, Stanley")