I ran through Flickr the search term for the specific place at which our vacation begins--it all looks lovely and remote and exotic.
I love the way that the search engine at that site allows one to take a "virtual tour" of anywhere just by entering the search terms into the search engine.
As ever, I hope that I see cool flora and fauna and get a nice picture or two. I love viewing wildlife and wildflowers, whether it is local or away a bit. Sometimes I think it's a mistake to travel, because there's so much risk of missing what is lovely at hand that one could discover during days off. But I do enjoy a change of scenery sometimes.
I'm enjoying reading Simon Barnes' How to be a (Bad) Birdwatcher this week. I love birds, though I'm anything but an assiduous or particularly knowledgable birder. I'm in the category of "can recognize a few dozen of the absolutely most easy to identify birds" and also in the category of "thrilled when a flock of sparrows parks at the backyard feeder". I've certainly enjoyed the little three-dollar sparrow feeder I got at a Big Lots and stock with seed this winter. The birds are so lively and so cute. Mr. Barnes' book is perfectly pitched towards a reader like me. It gives me that twin thrill of saying things I already believe while teaching me facts I did not know.
I was scanning a bit of The Origin of Species this week. It's hard to believe that such a straightforward bit of science could excite so much needless controversy over one hundred fifty years later. Here in Texas the local state education board tends to weigh in on textbooks and even its staffing decisions based on ideological concerns about their notion that science should be disregarded in favor of their literalist views. I'd love to hear more politicians stand up for science, rather than violate the separation of church and state. That sounds like such a "shooting ducks in a barrel" thing to say, with which most readers are likely to agree. The real goal is to be less theoretical and more assertive with promoting this position. It's been decades since William Jennings Bryan said "“All the ills from which America suffers can be traced to the teaching of evolution”, yet some still harbor this sentiment. I feel badly for people whose world-view is so limited that they cannot accept the situation which the evidence does not support the assertions they make as to the facts.
We're in definite winter mode now, with nights in the 20s and days in the 30s. I've enjoyed the cold this winter, but I can feel the daydreams about warm late February days with pear trees and plum trees in bloom begin to peek over the horizon, like pink tendrils of sunrise.