Poetic Archaeology 9

Baked earth and parched lips

Shoulders sag and footsteps slow

Respite in the lab

It’s been hotter than you-know-what in the Mid-Atlantic the past week. Doing archaeology in these conditions is brutal. We’ve had a dry spell, and soils are hard as rock. It’s impossible to use our normal excavation methods sometimes. Friday’s derecho dumped some rain, but so fast, most of it ran off into the sewers.

Meghan’s dealing with this on her project. And her crew needs a break. So she’s pulled them out of the field this week and has them working in the lab. Ah, air conditioning. And she’s treated them to their favorite iced coffees today. Tomorrow’s the Fourth of July, and they’ll have a day off to relax, too. Some of them are heading into DC for the big fireworks display on the Mall. Others will take in shows closer to home.

My husband and I will stay closer to home. We can easily walk to the park where our town holds its show. I’m taking the camera this year. It has a setting for fireworks, so we’ll see how it goes. I doubt my photos will look anything like this:

Or this:

But it’ll be fun to try.

That’s the beauty of digital cameras. Don’t like the photo? Delete! It’s not like the old days when you might think you wasted a roll of good film.

We’ll revisit Meghan in her lab soon. But I’m guessing much of the American audience is getting ready for tomorrow’s holiday. If you are, be safe with those fireworks!

Hope to see you all for Saturday’s post. :)

45 thoughts on “Poetic Archaeology 9

  1. Great haiku, I can feel the heat in those words.

    Those fireworks are gorgeous. I have been hearing the ‘booms and bangs’ every night since Friday, which seems to be more often than ever before. I almost wondered if this year’s Independence Day held some special significance that I didn’t know about.

    I know what you mean about digital cameras. I would feel so disappointed in how many pictures go to waste back in the ‘old days’ haha.

    Enjoy your fourth and looking forward to seeing how your pictures turn out! :)

    • Surprisingly, I haven’t been hearing any fireworks at night, and that’s not normal. We’ll see about tonight. Or maybe I just haven’t heard about a ban because of dry weather…. ;)

      I took a lot fewer photos when I used a film camera—because film and developing weren’t cheap on a student’s budget. Sometimes I still have to remind myself I can click away as long as I have charged batteries. :) (A high density card guarantees I won’t run out of space!)

      Finger crossed for the “fireworks setting.”

      Have a great fourth, too! :)

  2. Hope the setting works and you can share, ’cause I love fireworks. We mainly get noisy ‘bunters’ here – let off with an exuberance beyond understanding for any special occasion (and to frighten away greedy monkeys, it seems), so I’m missing them a bit. Happy Independence Day.

    • I remember the noise makers from Latin America. And I usually didn’t know what the occasion was—maybe there wasn’t always one. I prefer the colorful ones because I’m really sensitive to loud noises. Taking pictures will be a challenge as I try not to flinch. :)

      If I get any decent photos, I will definitely share. :)

      • Here it’s births, deaths, marriages, engagements, babies, exams, auspicious times … and they frighten me out of my wits, always!

        Hope you got some shots of the pretty ones …?

  3. JM, I hope you have a fun Fourth! We usually do a neighbor cookout thing on our street, and the kids play with sparklers… we got some great photos the past two years with the kids drawing circles in the air with sparklers–the digital camera does such a good job with things like that. Some of our best photos weren’t fireworks but were the more mundane Fourth of July things on the sidelines.

    This holiday is one of my favorites! Have fun!

    • Sounds like you live in a good place for holiday festivities. :) One of these years, if the temperature on the 4th will ever be below 90, we’d like to take in the show on the National Mall. That would be so iconic…. But luckily it’s not even a half-mile walk to our park for the festivities. We get there quicker than the cars in stop-and-go traffic.

      I’ve never tried photographic fireworks before, so this should be interesting. As long as I don’t keep flinching because I expect a loud crash with every launch!

      Enjoy the day!

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  5. I imagine it’s very tough for an archaeologist to work in this heat, under the blistering sun. I thought your opening poem described it perfectly. Have a great 4th!

    • It is. My husband was out yesterday and again today, digging holes. He’ll be drained when he gets home. But sometimes we’re on short schedules and can’t choose the days we work. We’ll enjoy relaxing tomorrow!

      Have a Happy 4th, too!

  6. As far as digital is concerned, even if you think it is bad, there are programs to work with it. I have had so many shots that look poor, that I have used free software to “clean up” and they have turned out to be great shots.
    Yes, very hot out!

  7. Definitely time for a well earned rest! :) Those certainly sound like harsh conditions to deal with!!! I hope you will share your photos with us once you are done. Would love to see them. I recently bought myself a new camera, it’s great to have one again. I’ll need to start snapping nice pictures. :) Have a great time tomorrow! :)

    • Yes, it’s just miserable out there for Meghan and crew. (And my husband and his!) Iced coffee in the lab sounds much more pleasant than baking in a sweltering field (or next to a busy road).

      I will definitely share if the photos turn out. :) And yes — get snapping! I bet I’m not the only reader who enjoys seeing photos from other parts of the world. What’s mundane to you could be fascinating to me :)

    • Please do, please do! Photos are just wonderful. I’m thinking about doing a food post so there may be some photographs cropping up soon. :)

      Have a great time tonight!

  8. Nice Haiku. We live not too far from Disney land (but not close enough to be in tourist zone) so no doubt we shall be hearing the firework display there tomorrow.

    • Oh, I can imagine Disney puts on quite a spectacle. Someday I want to see the show from the National Mall. Even though it can draw half a million people to the area, it would still be an amazing event. Capped off by the 1812 Overture celebrating the Defense of Moscow…. ;)

    • My attempts could be a total bust. :) I’ve gone through the manual to get the settings entered on the camera. And I’ll probably just “point and shoot” and see what develops. :) You might see some blurry, fuzzy photos on the blog soon. Maybe I can pass them off as “artsy.” :P

  9. I never heard of derecho storms until yesterday. Then I saw it mentioned in the paper today. And now again in your post. Are they very rare or am I out of the derecho memo loop?

    • I think the Weather Channel has used the term before, but it really seemed to catch on with this monster storm that started in Chicago and held together to the Atlantic Coast. It’s a line of severe thunderstorms with straight-line winds that can reach hurricane speeds. They form in extreme heat conditions like we’ve had and can do a lot of damage.

      I remember one going through Illinois some years ago that damaged part of our roof. We were lucky in this one!

        • It’s blown over, but a lot of people still don’t have power in MD/DC/VA, and more than 140 traffic lights are still not working in our county alone. And I just heard the county has cancelled all 4th of July fireworks events. They don’t want to overtax emergency services or the roads with non-functioning lights.

          So no photos after all…. :(

  10. Yes, it’s hot…and dry! Ick! I love fireworks (especially the pictures you posted), but I’m scared to death for tomorrow. I’m thinking it will start off the wildfire season with a vengeance.

    • Is Idaho as dry as Colorado this summer? That could be a disastrous combination if people are careless—and someone, somewhere, always is. I’m not sure I remember a summer with so many extremes in so many parts of the country. We’re looking at upper 90s again tomorrow.

      Enjoy the holiday, but stay safe!

      • I think the whole west is dry! All the wild grasses on the hills and along the roads are tall and as yellow and dry as can be. I keep watching all these fires in Colorado, Utah and on the other side of my state and just cringe…knowing it will hit here soon. You stay safe too!

  11. I took some amazing photos of fireworks in disney a few years ago. I think the secret is in how the camera catches the light. The setting needs to be “just right”

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  13. I wish we had some sun over here in the UK – but not the type that caused fires in the US recently. Photos are fab – hope you got some good ones yesterday.

    • Unfortunately, no. The show got cancelled because we’re still dealing with the aftermath of a large storm last week. :( Hopefully next year. If I could send you some of our excess warmth and sun, I would gladly do so. They’re calling for about 40 C on Saturday…. Yikes! That is record territory.

  14. Wow, JM, great shots. I have that setting as well and have never used it. Did a super job. Everyone is sweltering across the country. We seem to be faring slightly better out hear on the west coast but the fires are starting a couple of hours north of here.

    • Sigh. I cannot tell a lie I didn’t take those. :) I wish. And with the show cancelled because of lingering power outages, I’ll have to wait till next year. This summer will undoubtedly go down as one of the most extreme on record. 103 is our forecast for today. It was already 90 before 9:30. Be careful with those fires!

  15. Your poem succinctly captured what the whole west is feeling at this moment. By the by, I hope you were able to get fantastic shots of the fireworks. Cheers!

    • This summer is one for the record books, I think. Everything seems to have started early — tropical storms, high heat, fire season. I hope we’ll get a break for at least part of the summer!

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  16. Too darn hot for the Mall fireworks for sure. But we did have a nice view of some on the 3rd out the front window. (The German just under the bed for the duration – just not a fan of loud booming noises)

    • Oh, I’m so glad you got to see the German! I’ll bet she was glad to see you again, too. And I can empathize with her not liking the loud booms. I’m not sure how I’ll take photos next year when I flinch every time the fireworks are launched, dreading the loud bangs from some of them. ;)

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