This morning we trekked to the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. I am not one to voluntarily subject myself to heat or bugs. However, this was by far one of the coolest things I’ve done. At the beginning of our visit, we got out to see all these crows and noticed that there was a juvenile night heron. One of my favorite short stories is about a white heron, so I liked being able to see a relative in person. I learned a lot of new terms like “kettling” used to describe how the birds fly in a circular pattern and “mobbing” used to describe when smaller birds chase larger birds. I also saw birds I never knew existed, like the glossy ibis and the tern. The terns were my favorite (they will come up again in my writing). I never would have independently said “Hmmmm today I think I will go bird-watch at a refuge,” but I am glad I had the opportunity to do so. It is something that I would do again (from a nicely air conditioned vehicle).
Peter let us write for an extended time this afternoon. I needed that. I locked myself in my room and wrote 3 different poems (well rough drafts at least). After dinner Peter offered to meet us in our regular room for conferencing during studio time. I appreciated this, because our class is kind of big in numbers so getting more extensive feedback was invaluable. He showed me some poems that might help me in my next round of revision. He pointed out rhythms I hadn’t noticed I created to show me that I needed to sustain it throughout for the reader. He called me out when my language wasn’t being consistent with the experience. I needed to be more “birdy”. In another piece, he helped me compress the language, moving closer to the clarity of my idea. All of these things helped me move my writing forward.