Yesterday (well, actually two days ago, since it’s now past midnight), my senior seminar went on a field trip. I miss field trips. They were always so awesome in high school. Why can’t we have more of them?
Anyway, my class went on a field trip to a rival university. Apparently, they don’t know that we’re rivals. Which is good, cause no one attacked us while we were there. But we went to look at their manuscripts and rare books. They have an amazing rare books room. We were told a lot of the history of making these types of books, and shown a bunch of them. They were amazing. These books were so old! One of the books was a volume of Dante. Only two copies exist in the whole world. And we got to hold it. And turn the pages. HOW COOL IS THAT? Some of the books were bound in wood, others in leather, some in vellum (animal skin, and kinda sticky feeling). Some books were in Latin, some in Greek, and one was in English. They were all ancient, and smelled wonderful. I love that old book smell!!
After we saw the books, we wandered through the philosophy department building. They had some plaster casts of frieze reliefs that were hanging up on the wall, and we looked at them for a bit while our professor talked to us about them. I zoned out. I was very tired.
Then we started heading out. But as we were walking down this one hallway, our professor stopped us and went into some door and down the stairs. Everyone just stood awkwardly in the hallway for a minute. Then I realized that it was the Dendrochronology lab. And I was like, dendrochronology? That’s trees!! So I went in. Sure enough, dendrochronology is the study of tree rings. You can date a piece of wood to the very year in which it was cut down by measuring and counting its growth rings. Outside the lab they had a few samples hung up. One was a redwood, which was about 3000 years old. It started growing in 1015 BC (or BCE, if you prefer). All along the wood were pins noting important events, like the building of the Parthenon and the eruption of Vesuvius. It was so cool.
Our professor brought us down into the lab and the old director (actually retired, but still works there) showed us around quickly. And by quickly I mean that our professor cut him off after about five minutes. But I thought it was amazing. Apparently I was the only one. Everyone else was tired and hungry and couldn’t wait to leave.
We had dinner at a deli that had authentic Greek food, and then drove back home. I was riding shotgun, so I got to chat with my professor the whole way. Everyone was kinda shocked that I would be willing to do so, but I actually enjoy chatting with my professors.
In a way, I was really upset about the field trip. We were gone for eight hours, on a Friday, meaning I could get literally no work done. I also had a friend from out of town, who graduated last year, who was staying with me, so I ended up doing no work today, either, which is rather upsetting, because I have a lot of work to do. On the other hand, I really rather enjoyed the trip. I could have done without the wandering through the academic building, but the manuscripts were awesome, and I absolutely LOVED the dendrochronology lab. (That is really annoying to keep spelling out)
It’s sad to realize that most of the people in my class hate the seminar. True, most of the classes are boring as hell. But this field trip was really fun, but most people couldn’t care less about it. I mean, how could you not enjoy looking at a dendrochronology lab? It’s so cool!! How many people have ever even heard of dendrochronology, let alone heard from one of the experts about it? I think it’s awesome. But on the other hand, I guess I can understand why some people might not. As one girl in my class said, “Why would you ever want to stare at a tree and count rings all day?”
Well, I certainly wouldn’t mind trying for a bit. It would be a change from my daily translations. Which I should be getting back to …
*sigh. Back to work!