Reading through the blog site it appears winter is a time for reflection, although I am new to the season.  I have postponed my conclusion with this job and inevitable winter experience by traveling south for a few weeks of sunshine and play.  While I’m cresting my third year as an Oregonian, up from the tropics of Hawai’i, I still seem to resist winter as a part of my annual cycle.  I initially dreaded the arrival of chapped lips and obligatory coats, but I found myself rooting for the season when I arrived back home this year. The balmy month of January and my memories of dry, warm December had me pulling for the underdog to at least not make an embarrassment of itself.  True to form, the season saluted me with the coldest day of the year my first day back at work.

I could read into this as an omen that one cannot escape winter, that it eventually must come to pass, but come on.  We’re scientists. That stuffs for tarot cards and horoscopes (which, by the way, is totally cool if that’s what you’re into.  I’m sure you could find a great reading from half the residents of my town, Ashland, OR, but I digress).  Regardless, here I am on an assuredly wintery day writing a reflection on the year past.

I have decided, after this rather rambling introduction, to actually present my reflection as a poem.  However before finishing I need to thank Stacy, my mentor, and my coworkers, Sienna & Shannon, who are bright spots as human beings.   So without further ado, here is my haiku:

Collecting summer’s seeds,

Despite the strain to obtain,

Brings warmth in winter.


Bumbling Towards Becoming A Botanist

This week marks the first paid position I have had as a scientist.  In my confusing middle twenties I tried a lot of different jobs and walked a winding path towards where I am now.  I have always been curious and appreciative of the outdoors, but it wasn’t until I stumbled into a job as a summer school teacher, which eventually led to an “outdoor fun” position where I got to take kids hiking everyday, did I consider doing it as a job and career.  I kept this job for the next 4 summers, while I eventually went on to get a Master’s in Environmental Education.

While studying I bumbled towards another realization that as much I loved and still do love sharing and experiencing nature with students I became interested in other aspects of our interaction with the environment.  Along the way farming and agriculture took ahold of me, and I spent a year helping to manage a mixed organic farm.  Farming likewise will keep a part of my heart, but my favorite part of it was the idea of land restoration and conservation and understanding the native plants in the area, and again felt drawn towards another opportunity.

Now I feel like I have arrived at a new window and opportunity in my life.  Taking on changing career paths from a Business undergrad towards a Biology based career took an intense amount of time, effort, and self-discipline to take extra classes and go a bit above and beyond to feel confident and competent in my abilities to change.

I have often felt worried and self-conscious about my wandering jobs and interests, and watched as friends pass me in their development of their jobs and lives as I felt I was moving sideways.  However, the joy of starting a job I know I am going to love, and of finding a milestone through a string of big and confusing decisions, really brings me a sense of contentment. Plus it also brought me to some flowers.

Cat’s Ear Lily, a common flower that is in the same genus as a lot of endangered lilies in the area

One of the federally listed endangered plants in the Rogue Valley of Oregon