Some thoughts from an airport.
After 84 days in the True North, I have developed some skills that only a handful of dedicated individuals have acquired. We are the Few, the Proud, the Wetland Ecologists of Villanova University. 1. I am able to sit in the backseat of a pickup truck for up to 3 hours. (No longer than that, please). Most of our field sites are at least an hour and a half away, but the dreaded trip to Red Earth Creek is a whopping 3 hours. At least there is gas station about halfway there with a wonderful snack collection. 2. I am able to sort dried vegetation all day long, pending the fact that we are also watching movies and I am not sorting cranberry. 3. I can also unstick myself from what I like to call ‘Peat Black Holes’- endless pits of doom that one might slip in at any given moment on any footpath at any site. I think I’ve mastered the effective way to wiggle out of such a predicament. (Except that one time…RIP to my left boot somewhere at Utikuma).
After just about 3 months, I have learned these brilliant, resume worthy skills, but also the process of nitrogen fixation, the correct way to insert “eh?” into any Canadian sentence, and the definition of a bog. (Supposedly there’s no water movement, but I also learned that that’s kind of not true.) I am a Tim Hortons Convert and huge fan of the Canadian Netflix selection.
This summer was nothing short of the Greatest Adventure of my Life So Far. I learned how to operate a Gas Chromatogram, collect pore water, measure photosynthesis and cellular respiration, and that Sphagnum is the “Greatest genus in the world”- Kell Weider 2016. But I also learned that Yevgenia loves to watch horror movies, Mikah is a crochet wizard, Hope only drinks cold drinks, and Kelly has a secret super power for baking Olympic themed cakes. Catilyn calls her grandfather everyday and Wendy can cook a masterpiece dinner from even the emptiest fridge. This summer was a summer spent outside, sunburned, bug bitten, but almost always happy. I am so thankful to have seen the mountains in Jasper National Park, to have raided the thrift store weekly and to have celebrated America’s birthday in Northern Alberta with the people that I did. Thanks to one wild gang. Cheers to the adventures.