Writing Big Year: Loathsome work

Sometimes the labor is unenjoyable to the point of revulsion. Who really wants to examine page after detailed diagram of reactor accident material?

The only pleasure, during those times, is a kind of fury to get this over with. To be done with it.

Fitness Big Year: Some numbers

In Darwin I tried to up the ante and conquer 8-km runs. Twice I tried and twice┬áI had to part walk the last few kilometers. In the relaxing dry heat of the city’s winter, down by the water, I didn’t mind.

Halfway through the year, I’d run 365 kms, well under 50% of the 2017 target of 900 kms. If my hamstring and feet and errant mind get me back to 10-kms runs, the target remains achievable, given that I’ve also decided to run three times a week.

I’d cycled 1,800 kms. The end-of-year goal is 3,500 kms. On track.

I’d worked out 43 times. The goal is 90. Having concluded two gym sessions a week is counter productive, if I’m steady with three visits each week, the goal is doable.

I now have a much better picture of what to do each week until December 31. Isn’t that peace?


Darwin cycling: Man versus nature

See the Black Kite wheeling overhead while I navigated traffic that barely acknowledges bicycles exist. Melbourne cycling is in the crevices of a city that has tamed nature into landscaped swathes. In Darwin last week, I glimpsed a different dynamic, cowboys striving to subjugate a biosphere ready to strike back. What would two degrees of warming do to Darwin? Five degrees?

Defiant Earth by Clive Hamilton

Clive Hamilton always writes cogently and passionately. His latest book, Defiant Earth, is a more difficult read, more technical philosophy than science exposition or polemic, and I confess that although I worked my way through the arguments, my overall takeaway is limited. Nonetheless, it does caution me away from two philosophical/political stances commonly witnessed. Beware the geoengineering gung-ho guys: messing with the atmosphere, for example, is just another iteration of “humans rule,” something they patently never did and don’t now. Be careful also with recently traditional environmentalist fixations on “Gaia,” “the biosphere,” “one species among many,” etc.: we are the only species now walking hand in arm with the planet towards a new future. In other words, the new Anthropocene Epoch is a geological phase in which planet Earth and the only sentient influence, the Human Race, interact. (I’m sure I mistate Hamilton’s formulation, so if interested, read his book.)

The birding big year that isn’t

A day off on Monday. Of course such a drastic step provoked feelings of guilt but we soaked up six hours birding at Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve, seventy kilometers east of Darwin. Swoon! Wonderful species of Flycatcher, the lovely Arafura Fantail, so easy in a new state to accumulate lifers.

If only 2017 was a birding big year, I’d be doing this each day!

Writing Big Year: The three volumes

Volume I breeds more complexity as a first volume than when it lived in a one-volume book. I’m working well on it and am still targeting the end of the year but quite what it will look like, or when I can aim the other two volumes for, or all the other planning goals I desperately need . . . all feels like it’s in limbo.

Let me live with limbo for a couple more weeks. Then certainty must cohere. Surely it must.