Still Life with Rhododendrons & the same old normal

A fine line

I hope you are still doing OK behind your fences.

Since mid-March, terms such as Zoom, flatten the curve, social distancing, PPE, furlough, quarantine have become some of the newly-coined household words we hear, use & put into practice on a daily basis.

The term “new normal” (another uninvited guest into mainstream life), leaves me with something of a sinking feeling – a self-pronouncement of life-as-we-now-know-it-so-get-used-to-it. A sentence. The term doesn’t bode well for going back to any kind of old normal and when does it stop being new anyway? I think that’s the crux of my concern. Once the “new” no longer applies to the normal because it’s outlived it’s newness, then this is foreseeable life as we know it – a new era characterized by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Or do we wait for the next abnormality to become commonplace to know that this normal is no longer new?

The Coronavirus pandemic will undoubtedly dominate the list of edits to this year’s dictionary updates.  And just when does a blog become a rant….time to move on…

However, no staring into the middle distance and contemplating evolving lexicon for the rest of the Centrum staff. They  have been hard at work cleaning faculty accommodation, taking inventory, making repairs, painting and landscaping – although they’d  rather painting landscapes.   See below the result of hours of TLC spent weeding the Centrum main office garden.  Nice job liberating the Rose Campion Kelly!  In fact the whole campus of Fort Worden is looking spectacular at the moment and the rhododendrons, like the toiling staff, are outstanding in their field.

“Once again, I find myself in the awkward position of having to ask you to throw the ball again…and again”

There are still lots of activities to keep you occupied while you patiently wait out the stay-at-home orders.


NOSC   is inviting you to join in their interactive Salmon Bingo activity!  Check out the bingo card and let NOSC know how you fared, they’d love to hear your stories.  Lots of learning activities – fun for young and old and a a fun way to learn.


has monthly scheduled low tide walk events and other options for participating from home or  other local tidepool venues.  Tidepool walks tie in nicely with their Tidepooling Scavenger Hunt

Low tide walks and scavenger hunt stories will be available online if you are not available at the appointed time and of course you can do your scavenger hunt at any low tide – print out the quiz here and take it with you.

Woodworking projects for backyard wildlife

This is a fantastic resource of woodworking plans for bird feeders and houses for bats, owls squirrels and songbirds.  We built two birdhouses for swallows this weekend and they were  occupied as soon as the paint dried!

Online offerings from Port Townsend School of the Arts coming up over the next few weeks.

Thanks for listening and stay safe.

See you through the fence again soon!

Claire Africa
Volunteer Coordinator

If you have any comments or questions please don’t hesitate to email me at

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