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Bargaining for rain July 10, 2014

Posted by stinawp in Uncategorized.
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June 22, 2014

 

Every four or five days we go without rain, I try to bargain for it. Like any good superstition, there is a ritual to this. I hunt up the graduate student/naturalist and complain that I need rain for my plants and caterpillars. She has a vested interest in it not raining yet, since she’s catching crocodiles in a few water-filled lagoons that will disappear when the marsh fills completely. So she argues that the marsh can’t fill yet and I argue that the plants need rain, and we eventually agree that a few hours of rain each day would suit both of us. At this point, she gestures grandly to the sky and commands the weather gods to let it rain. Unfortunately, they don’t listen to her any more than they do me.

Sacrificing to the field gods seems to be working better. In my lab, we say that anything we lose in the forest—a Sharpie, a roll of flagging tape, a GPS, a wallet—is a sacrifice to the field gods for success in our endeavors. When I told the graduate student that maybe I should trying losing something, she told me not to lose my field assistant. I agreed that that would be very bad (also difficult, since we go in opposite directions), and that losing my GPS would be too much, but that maybe a Sharpie or something would do.

Yesterday, we lost the station’s GPS, although not in the forest. A course staying here used it, but packed it up instead of the course’s GPS. This was the best possible way to lose something—they left their GPS here and made arrangements to send the station’s back once they reached their next Organization for Tropical Studies field station. And this morning after they left, it rained.

Postscript: We had rain each day for five days, but none after that. The truly superstitious might tie this to the return of the station’s GPS.

 

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