Life as a Journalist (huh?)

Yesterday I interviewed a woman for the article I’m writing on the upcoming Crane Festival. It was very interesting. The dark side was technology. She has two VHS tapes of Crane Festivals from the antediluvian era. She brought a VCR to the Chamber of Commerce to hook up to their TV but, of course, the TV is too new to have RCA hookups. Today we are embarking on Plan B which involves my TV with connectors dating back to the transitional epoch between RCA and HDMI.

Life as a world-renowned journalist is pretty interesting and not always in the writing. The best part of the interview for me (so far) was talking to another person who gets excited about wildlife and birds. Not since I was hanging out with the rangers at Mission Trails Regional Park have I had that experience. She also had a really nice dog.

The video tapes are from 30 some years ago when the festival was still called the “Whooping Crane Festival.” I also learned yesterday what happened to the Whooping Cranes. As a species they are larger than Sandhill Cranes and the mountain ranges and the altitude made life — migration — here very hard for them. Then the problem of electric wires. Cranes get tangled in them often. Last summer I learned from a maintenance guy at the Refuge about 40 cranes who died from being tangled in power lines.

I don’t know how much of the dark side I want to put in a 1000 word article, but I will put some. One thing about being a future Pulitzer Prize winner is that the time invested in an article brings the hourly rate down to about a nickel. 😀

Both species were severely threatened back in the 80s, but have made a comeback thanks to people as it happens.

The word for today is “depauperate” which kind of breaks my brain because I think it should mean “enrich” but it means the opposite. He was a poor guy but thanks to his great work ethic he’s depauperated but noooooo….. English, that whore, takes a little bit from HERE and little bit from THERE and constructs meaning in a completely arbitrary fashion.

Anyway — it occurred to me last night that I’m an amateur naturalist at this point, just from going out there for most of my life and watching stuff, then reading about it. I guess I must be pretty obnoxious to real naturalists who’ve studied formally. It made me think of Goethe who had an axe to grind with the then new approach to science which was based on experimentation rather than observation. The experimenters had an axe to grind with HIM.

We humans have this “either/or” thing going on. Experimentation requires observation so it’s not really one or the other, but humans take sides. Goethe was an observer. His theory of plants and his theory of colors were both based on direct observation and neither theory is totally flawed. Darwin said he owed the Theory of Evolution to Goethe’s observations on the growth of plants. Early humans, too, survived better because they observed how nature worked. What made yesterday’s interview fun was getting her to share things she had seen. I think that will inspire people to attend the festival which is the whole point.

Thank goodness my dogs like tourists.

11 thoughts on “Life as a Journalist (huh?)

  1. I always get a kick out of technology and its temporariness. I remember when I learned I should place important documents on floppy discs because paper doesn’t last. Now I have real paper files of 50 year old original documents that I can take out and read (including the book I re-read for today’s post) and a pile of floppy discs, VHS tapes, and old hard drives that I have to dispose of because I have no means to read them. At least I never bought a Jazz drive.
    Around here we don’t have mountain ranges – unfettered hunting was the biggest reason for Whoopers disappearing in this neck of the woods.
    Re: “depauperate” – Is something that burns well “flammable” or “inflammable”. Yes.

  2. Doing something that brings satisfaction, benefit to community and puts some coin in the pocket has to be a good thing! I’m a fan of your writing (books, poems, magazine articles) and of your art! Will you publish a link to the article when it is published??

    • I will share a link but it might not be on their free content on their website. The fancy dinner article is out now, but only for subscribers. Fingers crossed the cranes will do better! The magazine isn’t centered in the San Luis Valley — we’re kind of on the fringe, so there’s no way to know.

  3. We feel like fraudsters writing about our nature observations but our type of “citizen science” project has always been important, e.g. Rachel Carson. I am sure the PhD’s will cope.

    Plus, now you can write with authority by just adding a depauperate here and there. 🤣

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