Day 1: A list of experience

I’d like to make a list of ten experiences I had today, my first day capturing Spermophilus parryii, also known as the arctic ground squirrel, also known by their Inuit name, sik-sik.IMG_1130

  1. Throughout the tundra in Atigun Pass I carried fifteen small cages on my back with Schlepper #2.
  2. I played a sik-sik in the Toolik-wide skit competition. Our team, a combination of Winter (my lab) and Wet labs, won a custom gourmet meal from the kitchen staff for “Best Effort”.
  3. I caught my first AGS. Victor calls her “Gray-Gray”, because those are her ear tag colors. GG is notorious and feisty.IMG_1132
  4. I saw an AGS fall asleep in a large pickle jar with gas tubes so we could measure her. I saw Victor hold her gently until she woke up.
  5. For dinner I had eggplant and feta-stuffed portobellos, garlic asparagus, a delicate potato/yam casserole, and spinach/cherry/walnut salad. The meat-eaters dined on filet mignon, crab, and lobster. Dessert was chocolate cupcakes with ganache and strawberry shortcake.
  6. I heard a vicious swarm of mosquitoes, horse flies, and gnats swarm around my body for eight solid hours. It was an immense act of patience to just let them do it.
  7. I looked at this beauty all day:IMG_1135
  8. I rode the camp bikes to the lake with Victor, stripped down to nothing, and jumped in.
  9. I felt that I am happy to make new friends, but I also don’t mind if I don’t really connect with anyone by the time I leave. I felt this was an area of growth for me, to not pressure myself into being that social butterfly and connecting with everyone. I felt simply grateful that Victor and I get along so well. We are dissimilar in many ways, yet our love for science and nature and work are bringing us together in a genuine, satisfying way. I felt an amazement at the ability of humans to connect. I felt happy, at the same time, to choose to be alone and not participate.
  10. I fell back in love with scientific research, inquiry, precision, hard work, and creativity. I’m home again.IMG_1127

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