Sunday, August 2, 2009

12th grade reading exam, revisited

Today's wildlife sighting was this lovely snake, which Emily found on a rock wall - no joke - exactly 1 minute after she asked me "Are there any snakes up here?" and I said "No, just climb on up." Clearly she had a wisdom about this spot which I lacked.

When I was a grad student in weed science in Kentucky, we had up on the wall a joke reading exam for another Southern state, which shall today remain anonymous:
MR Snakes
MR Knot
MR Snakes
(clue: read the letters aloud, don't try to make into words)
Brian sent me an article from today's NY Times about how kids today don't know what happens when you lick a banana slug. The fact that Emily asked me about a snake on the wall makes me really happy; she's got her snake reading skills down pat. Next step is clearly going to be learning to trust her own judgement, not mine, because between her bear sighting yesterday (proven by print) and today's snake finding, she's proven herself to be a good naturalist, one whose judgement - at least about animal sightings - is clearly superior to mine. I can tell you that the weed in the foreground is purslane (Portulacca olereaca), but I don't know the snake, and would never have seen it without her eyes.
(Translation of test: 'Em are snakes. 'Em are not. Yes, they are - see them itty bitty eyes? 'Em are snakes.)

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