I miss being in the forest, hiking, camping, backpacking. They are a part of me, but my crazy life hardly allows for time out in the forest any more. I have too much work, two toddlers in diapers, a busy personal life, and absolutely no energy. Grumble, grumble.
Many of my recent friends have no idea what I used to be like. To most of them I'm an overweight lab rat. On the outside, my skin would probably glow with the fluorescent dyes I use at my lab bench, but if you pulled me apart I'm pretty sure you'd find that a significant portion of my guts are made up of pine needles, moss, and oak leaves. My love of biology started as a little kid, wandering around the woods where I grew up, poking at bugs in streams and rummaging through the undergrowth. It was this early curiosity that fed my lifelong love of nature and its workings. I'm guessing most scientists could figure their love of science started through the curiosity of their childhood.
By the time I was in college, I could live for a week in the woods with practically nothing besides a bedroll and a pocket knife. Really. I proved it by working a couple summers in the wilderness areas of
Do you remember the TV show, Grizzly Adams? I could relate to that guy back then. Alone in the wilderness, at one with the animals (like his grizzly bear companion, Ben), living independently and loving nature. Except I didn't care for the cheesy plotlines – how is it so many non-woodsman people in desperate need of help would just *happen* to run into
But somehow I moved away from ecology to follow my interest in lab work. I still get the same thrill I had as a child when I peer through a microscope at cells or come upon some new, innovative method. I think part of the reason I don't do ecological work is that nearly all the jobs (that don't involve timber) are jobs which are seasonal, temporary, and pay diddly-squat.
Now I live in western
Maybe I'll be Grizzly Adams again someday, but I'm not going to have a stupid sidekick with a mule.