How many magical moments can one person have with another species? Only a few, right?
I mean, there was that time you fed a cute chipmunk some chips at a rest stop, or the day you encountered an owl in the limbs of a tree right over your head. The squirrels that frolicked through the branches and around the trunk of that huge maple as you walked out of your doctor’s office after getting some good news. The squad of squid that left you trapped on an offshore rock in La Jolla when they positioned themselves between you and the beach, flashing rainbow color changes in unison. The time when a whole herd of deer ghosted out from the early morning mist and silently moved past the deck of your rental cabin while you were out there drinking coffee, wrapped in a blanket, waiting for your students to wake up. The day a fox trotted down the sidewalk in front of you while you were loading the car for work and vanished into the falling snow, leaving only its footprints behind. The flight of geese that swirled around your car and landed, feet extended and wings furiously back-flapping, unexpectantly dropping from the sky while you slammed on your brakes, stunned by the joy of the moment. The day a huge beaver swam across the pond while you and your children silently watched from the bank in the shadow of some shrubs, amazed by the size.
All that stuff didn’t happen to you?
Oh, yeah. Those are my memories.
I have had a lifelong love affair with nature. I started young with bug collections and jars full of creatures that I dug up from the sands during family beach outings. As I got older I branched out and collected every pet my mother would let me keep and looked at things from the garden with my little Christmas microscope. I learned about cells, genes and DNA in college, and then became a biomedical researcher in an immunology lab. I moved on after a few years to become a biology teacher and took every opportunity that came my way to continue my interactions with wildlife and nature. Workshops in the mountains, trips to the desert, classes with wildlife specialists, and days in museum workshops. It has all been great; a life in biology, rich with meaning and wonderment.
But the best, the very best, have been the magical, serendipitous moments that have come to me on my own, interlaced with memories and fraught with personal meaning.
Welcome to The BioGeek Memoirs.
Hopefully I will be posting every Friday.
I have a lot of memories.