i've got exactly two weeks remaining until i am uprooted once more and returned to my land of milk and honey (or micro-brews and mountainous peaks). at the moment i am filled with conflicting feelings for my impending departure, from joyous anticipation to mild dread.
i've spent the last four months trying to wrap my noggin around the puli basin... to get into the nitty-gritty of what will eventually become the focus of my doctoral dissertation, and i'm slightly more confused at this point than i was coming in. i've spent hours futzing with digital elevation models and ascii (american standard code for information interchange... i had to look it up) data, then days plotting profiles and vector maps. i've stared at cross sections from different sources and so far they've all constructed sections through my study area with squiggly lines, the structural geologist's equivalent of saying, "forget it, i'm not even going to try". if anything, i'm frustrated that i haven't been able to really shed a lot of light on the processes at work here... and this is where my feelings of mild dread come in.
on the one hand, returning to colorado will mean being reunited with friends and being able to understand everyone i talk to. i can ride my bikes, and enjoy all that boulder has to offer, namely clean air and that wonderful small-town aesthetic. on the other hand it means returning to my office (and my advisor) with a big question-mark on my forehead. now, i know it would be foolish for me to return with the idea that i'd figured it all out, and that it's unrealistic to think that i could have in relatively short time. it's still nagging at me though. the good side to going back to the office is that i'll have an easier time checking in and getting feedback... not to mention a little more motivation to get cracking on this stuff. this summer will be spent restoring (sort of deconstructing piece by piece) balanced structural cross-sections of the western foothills... then meshing these with my own updated cross-sections of the hsuehshan range. i think my goal for the year could be a poster at the annual a.g.u. conference with a complete balanced cross-section and axial surface map.
for now however, a 30 minute talk next tuesday and an hour long presentation in three weeks will be the focus of my energy. i think the next few days are going to be very long ones indeed.