'Tis almost morning, I would have thee gone --
And yet no farther than a wan-ton's bird,
That lets it hop a little from his hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silken thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.
I would I were thy bird.
Sweet, so would I,
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.
-- William Shakespeare. Romeo And Juliet Act 2, scene 2.
I had a fabulous time in Manhattan Kansas. I want to say more, but I don't want to overuse superlatives in my quest to express how grateful I am for this amazing experience, so instead, let me list some of the fun things that I did while I was here;
- I met and ate lunch with many of Dave's colleagues at KSU, and found them all to be thoughtful, humorous and interesting.
- I met and ate lunch with a former Governor of Kansas -- thrice.
- I met and chatted with the current Mayor of Manhattan.
- I had my very own office in the KSU biology department, which, combined with eating lunch with Dave's colleagues, made me long for a tenure-track position of my very own.
- I was a guest speaker for a creative nonfiction writing class for graduate students and was present in a class of biology graduate students who were learning how to make effective scientific posters. I truly miss being around smart and motivated students!
- I attended a poetry reading by Iraqi poet and American immigrant, Dunya Mikhail. I plan to post one of her poems that especially impressed me for you to read in honor of National Poetry Month.
- Kansas and Nebraska are truly photogenic areas and I had tremendous fun taking lots of pictures. Despite that, I would love to visit again, if for no other reason than there are so many photographs that I still want to take and share with you.
- I went fossil hunting for the first time ever in my life. The fossil brachiopods and crinoids that I was picking up were from the Devonian.
- I was priviledged to go birding on the Konza Prairie and I learned a lot about prairie ecology.
- I met and went birding with the Geary County extension agent, a very chatty fellow who is a poison ivy expert.
- I compiled a bird list of 86 species, including 8 new additions to my life list.
- I also learned that Kansas is a hybrid zone for many species of birds, which makes it an interesting place to research the dynamics of gene flow and the nature of hybrid zones.