May 12, 2008

Loving My Library

The SF Public Library system is pretty nice. I love my Excelsior branch, which is about 2 blocks from my flat. Overly worried about how I will adjust to life in London, I've started reading my grad school books early. I'm not the fastest reader so I want to absorb them once now in case I get overwhelmed.
This strategy is also helping me decide whether or not to buy these books for school, or to hope that I can check them out in London. For now, the library is perfect. Glancing at my list I searched "The Future of the Wild: Radical Conservation for a Crowded World" and found that there was a brand new copy not only in the system, but sitting at my branch library (Adams, Jonathan). I tried that title because it's striking and I was hoping to learn some crazy shit that might blow my mind. I searched, "Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions" because I've heard about this book over and over but never read it (Quammen, David). A not so new copy of this book was sitting at my branch library. Two for two.

I stopped there because, like I said, I'm not the fastest reader. The Adams book was great, but I would have loved it more if there had been some maps. As it is, "The Future of the Wild" convinced me first that I want to work on open space issues in the desert southwest (consistent with my interest in border issues and desert plant communities). When Adams directed my attention to the swamps of the South, I weighed mosquitoes against dust, rattlesnakes against cottonmouths. (Forgive me conservation colleagues for using the much maligned "swamp" over the preferred "wetlands". Okefenokee will always be a swamp.) I needn't have made these comparisons, because after I read about Yellowstone, I was convinced that I could and should work in either Montana or Wyoming.

Thank you SF Public Library for reminding me that our planet is complex and exciting. I've moved on to "The Song of the Dodo" and am just about convinced that I'll never really understand evolution unless I do my studies on an island. Crap, the only things that don't excite me are suburbs and golf courses at the moment.

Speaking of exciting, I'm theoretically healed from my January neck injury. So I'm returning to work at the Twin Peaks natural area this week to remove invasive wild radish and mustard from some steep, windy slopes. Hell yeah!

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