2006-07-16 23:27:15.000 – Rick Comeau,  Teacher Extern

Gibbous Moon

Not every teacher during their “summer vacation” would choose to spend their time reading about arithmetic mean, median, histograms, scatter plots and box plots: a pre-requisite for analyzing temperature data collected by five different thermometers during the month of June. But, this is my summer vacation. I am living and working in a world renowned meteorological center. My teaching fellowship affords me a once in a lifetime opportunity for personal growth and to further sharpen my craft here at the observatory. The fellowship is aimed to improve my technological skills using cutting-edge technologies, deepen my science and math knowledge base and bring those newly acquired skills and content back to my students. The learning curve on this five week sojourn will be as steep as the west slope of the summit.

By late Saturday afternoon I was mentally fatigued and, by MWO standards, meteorologically uneventful. My perspective was about to change, however. My outlook began to brighten as observers and a family participating in an Edu-trip gathered around the table for a gastronomic feast prepared by our volunteer, chef extraordinaire, Dave Matesky. Our five star meal included gourmet accompaniments and a dessert to die for! Ah, life was good. The day had been salvaged. What could be better than this, I wondered? My question would soon be answered.

Just before bed, wanting a few moments of solitude I ventured along the observatory deck. Exiting by way of the tower door, I was startled by a sight I not yet witnessed on the summit: STARS against a black sky, a thin undercast in the valley and an orange fire-like glow behind a thin veil of clouds in the East-Southeastern sky. Several shooting stars later, stunned by the topographic detail on the surface of a waning gibbous moon, now the color of burnt sienna, I realized these moments were as much a part of my fellowship as any other part. As the moon’s reflected light offered a path to the observatory, now in silhouette, I ambled back with a sense of inner peace I had momentarily lost earlier in the day.


Rick Comeau,  Teacher Extern

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