Wednesday, April 9, 2008

On the Road Again

Spring has finally come to our part of Canada and while the snow still covers most of the ground and the rivers are still frozen we are clearly entering the days of mud and hoses. The Sleek Greyhound of Death has been pulled out of the snow and is now giving good service as I commute back and forth across the province.

For the past few months winter has kept me close to home even though I am on sabbatical the boys have school and I was not conceited enough to completely disrupt their lives for my interest. So I worked away on a couple of publications, a big grant proposal for one of the groups I collaborate with and two (perhaps three) conference presentations. I did not want to spend my sabbatical writing I really wanted to work at the bench in inorganic synthesis but the commute was not possible in the winter (especially after my adventure in off-road driving).

The roads are clear and dry and the visibility is good so the two hour drive goes pretty well. There is a small problem with the local white tail deer population starving to death due to the long winter and they are now congregating near the highways where the shrubs are budding and the foraging is easier. It makes for some very distracted drivers and a number of accidents. I counted seven places this morning where it was clear that a deer had been hit and killed. And I saw this guy.

There is a river that I cross three times on the commute and near the end I can decide to continue on the huge McHighway which is divided and dead fast or the more scenic old river route through farmland. Yesterday I chose the river route and drove by this guy.

It was kinda weird. I could see him from a fair ways off and as I approached him I slowed down and rolled down my window as if I was going to ask directions. He was very aloof and indifferent to my presence so I took his picture. That is the frozen river behind him that keeps him from fishing so I guess he is pretty intent on roadkill as a source of food and since I wasn't roadkill (yet) he could care less about me. Still pretty cool though.

I am now in the process of re-starting the work I left in the fall. It feels good but I can feel the sabbatical running away now. Gotta run.


markmier said...

If you want to see a bunch of bald eagles, go to a landfill. Seriously. They may look majestic, but they're pretty much dirty scavengers. I was at a landfill in Kenai, Alaska and saw HUNDREDS of bald eagles just hangin' out waiting for the trash delivery.

Liberal Arts Chemist said...

Wow. I am familiar with dump gulls, dump bears and even dump deer but that is the first I have heard of dump eagles.

Sort of like senior research professors at conferences don't you think? I mean they look and sound top shelf but when the free food or complimentary stuff is being handed out there they are with their elbows up, grubbing for free pens.

markmier said...

Come on, even us mid-level folk won't turn down free food and pens! Meals always taste better when they're free, and crappy plastic pens and doodads are evidence of the "hard work" we put in socializing at conferences!


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For a while it was all about research and then it was all about teaching and now it's all about trying to find a balance while teaching at a small liberal arts and science university.