Now that the weather has taken a turn for the "seasonal," I am struggling with the remaining length of the school year. The very idea that I have to carry on for another almost-whole month is killing me. After the long holiday weekend, I couldn't be more done with this educational experience. I spent most of the past three days trying to ignore the reality
Chiefly, I was trying to ignore the fact that I was going back to a field trip.
I used to think of these little excursions as bonuses, a free way to go out and experience stuff. I was younger back then and had the energy to find the bright side. Now I've gone on every field trip known to mankind (some of them five or six times) and I don't get quite so enthused about it. But, when it's time to go visit the Maine Wildlife Park...it's time to go. Even if you don't want to get out of bed so you can drive for 45 minutes and then board a bus to drive for another hour and a half with a bunch of kids.
I forgot to bring my knitting and the Cheerful Teaching Assistant ended up being too sick to travel, but I like to think I dug deep in order that I might find my inner optimist. In the end, it really turned out to be a kind of nice sort of experience with the kids. For one thing, the weather couldn't have been nicer.
|And they've really spruced the place up since I was last there as a kid!|
The program we were schedule to participate in was called Skulls And Skins. This, of course, means that there will be skulls. And skins. You aren't getting around that.
|Some that seem to be looking right at you...|
Rest assured, none of these animals were sacrificed specifically for the purposes of entertaining children. They were either naturally relieved of their mortal coils, legally shot in season or confiscated by local authorities after having been poached. In each case, the hide and bones were saved to use as educational tools rather than go to waste. Our class got to use them to learn more about identifying animal diets and habitats by studying the skulls and fur.
Then we went off to look at all the critters currently in residence. There were lots, mostly behind chain link fences which don't always play nicely with my camera. Sometimes, though, I was pretty happy about the heavy layers of linkage. Like during feeding time in the mountain lion area.
|Mountain lions sort of scare the ever-loving daylights out of me. Even if they already have a snack to nosh on.|
I am not scared of bears, though. I really like bears. Bears make me chuckle and kind of coo in their general direction.
I know that it's not OK to hug bears or even shake hands with them. They get a little grumpy about that sort of thing. And I also know that you should never try to take away their pik-a-nik baskets.
|Even if they have very gentle eyes...|
Yeah...it can sometimes be hard to get through the last few weeks of the school year. The kids are cranky, the classroom gets hot and no one is particularly interested in being educated once June rolls around. You gotta find something to cling to lest you go mad with it all. If waving to bears and examining skinless skulls does the trick, then so be it. I'm not going to quibble with a good day. I enjoyed myself far more than I thought I would, all things considered. That is enough.
At least until I can start living like this guy: