Two XKCD comics handily sum up two of the most prominent aspects of my PhD experience thus far…
The Internet…such a powerful tool…such a powerful distraction.
…the challenge of whittling a general academic interest in an area down to something that approximates a viable 3 year study.
For the first two weeks of the year it rained almost every day. The sky was cluttered with damp, dreary clouds and the air almost cool.
The end of the rain came one morning when, instead of gathering, the clouds gave way to the insistent sun. And from then on it was dry, defying the weather bureau who kept confidently predicting showers. The dry built. Culminating one day with temperatures of nearly 40 degrees and a hot, arid wind that felt like it was blowing from a desert somewhere. And then the whether turned again. Still hot but humid now, with most days ending in booming thunderstorms, purple strokes of lightening and flooded streets.
With it the water brings life. After the rain, the park behind our house fills with what we think are tiny whistling frogs chirping from the tops of trees. Insects too. Our flat is home to a bunch of gangly, spindly house spiders that hunt mosquitoes, moths, and the little black flies that are everywhere now. At night either these spiders, or some secretive cousin of theirs has taken to criss-crossing the flat. Abseiling from ceilings, and sailing across the spaces between walls, trailing thread in their wake. I don’t know why they do it, the single strands can’t possibly catch anything. Maybe they’re safety ropes for arachnid alpinists, or the bungees of base jumping bugs. Either way they’re left waiting for us in the morning, long after their owners have retreated to dark distant corners.
And so the barely awake stumblings of our early mornings are accompanied by gossamer tickles. It’s too fine, and not sticky enough, to be unpleasant. Just an almost intangible aid to awakening, courtesy of the Canberra rains, and everything that flows from them.