Monday, July 27, 2015

Flowers and Field

Posted by Kim

I drove by Meanook on my way to the airport this weekend.  I’m not sure why.  I suppose I knew it would only take a few minutes and I wanted to see an old friend and drive down dusty roads.  Through the chained gate I could see all the old buildings, quiet and abandoned.  I could almost hear the laughter and the power tools and see people playing street hockey in the pickup-truck-laden parking lot.  The grass was mowed, and flowers bloomed behind locks and barriers and cameras designed to keep such riff-raff as me out. I was simultaneously happy and sad- but mostly sad.  Time keeps ticking on, and so do we - evolving with the challenges and difficulties that change with the days and years.  

I was heading home from a week of field work.
Our living space this year is better than we could have ever hoped, given our motel experience last year.  We have open space and a beautiful kitchen and it is fairly close to the lab.  I talked a little bit about the house earlier on the blog and I only have good things to say still.  Our crew is also fantastic.  They are a great group of people and there are many stories, but it is about the time of year when folks start thinking about the end, and the big push needed to finish up the work.  Thoughts of home or vacation or anything but field work start creeping in and it is far enough into the work for everyone to really start to get a handle on each other’s personalities (such a variety of I's and E's!) and what makes each other tick and maybe even what buttons to push here and there.  I learned many things, even this week. Kelly, for example, LOVES to pick wild berries. John likes to talk about conspiracy theories with Graham. Agrima is totally into watching Wall-E, but no one else is. Rob carries swim trunks in his field pack. Sharon and I are least likely to be psychopaths.   We all have our quirks, but I think we all like Saskatoon pie.   I was pleasantly aware of how well folks were getting along and how dedicated and good natured everyone is.

I'm proud of our group, and I’ve missed these people.  I’ve missed the bogs and the bugs and the drives, even, in a strange sort of way.  I’ve definitely missed the work.  There is nothing like spending the day tromping around in a bog.  You sort of take it for granted when you are there full time doing it day in and day out, but these visits are good for me to keep my perspective alive.  It was a good week of work for me and I am glad I could go.  

There is much left to do, but I know the crew will have fun doing it and that all is well there in the middle of Alberta.  The flowers are blooming and the grass is cut and the Saskatoons are ubiquitous, ripe, and being picked.  

Good luck, everybody!!

A view of Athabasca