And the road goes on forever...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Higher Sea Level

Personally, I’ve never had a lot of interest in the sciences although I always excelled at them in school. I think they skated too closely to the mathematics field, which was absolute anathema to me; consequently science just never appeared on my radar as a possible career. Hindsight now says I likely missed something, as I can imagine how exciting it might be to be a forensic scientist defeating crime for instance. Here locally, we have the marine biology sciences.

Every day when I walk the quay I pass the gray shingled village atmosphere of the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology ( ) run by the University of Oregon.

Frequently, their professors and their canine companions join me walking the quay and I think to myself how handy this location must be for them and how fortunate they are to have the sight of the harbor view right from the front decks of vaguely New England-looking-clustered cottage units that house them.

The campus is composed of about 23 buildings and over 100 acres of land originally ceded from the Coos Head Military Reservation and actually dates back to 1931. It’s now both a research and teaching facility operating year round with a flotilla of boats available, including the 42 foot inboard trawler often seen tied to the dock or coming back to port laden with life-jacketed and slicker-wrapped students.
Directly behind the science center is a wonderful swath of relatively older growth timber (70 years) which stretches all the way to the Coos Head Coast Guard lookout tower which gives spectacular views on clear days out the jetty to open ocean. There’s a little known dirt road directly through the college which traverses this forest of Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, western red cedar and western hemlock and puts one in mind of a fairy forest it is so quiet and dark with lush ferns. The entire area is enchanting; sequestered on a dead end road, surrounded by sea sights, smells, and sound. What lucky students.