Every once in awhile, unplugging from the rest of the world entices the mind to turn inward. While at the same time connecting with the non-human element. This is the world that daily becomes more invisible to all of us. This summer I have had the fortune of becoming immersed in the Invisible. But it is not invisible to me.
Spending most of the summer at a National Wildlife Refuge in sothheast Oregon, I have enjoyed my reunion with wildlife. Surrounded by birds -waterfowl, shore birds, songbirds, raptors, and owls- my days are full of new discoveries and remembering old lessons. In the sagebrush steppes of the northern Great Basin, my plant skills have been honed. And I have enjoyed observing mammals that I haven't seen in decades.
But not all delights have been living organisms. In this land of recent volcanism and shifting continental drama, these basalt rims, towering uplifted fault blocks, and volcanic cinder cones dotted with pumice of all colors also give me delight. The child inside smiles and sometimes even squeaks, as I did when watching five otters in a pond one morning.
Part of my duties was to greet and inform visitors to the Refuge. More than just providing directions, I like to relay tidbits of natural history, sometimes personal anecdotes, encourage their questioning, and serve as a guide through the eyes of the creatures that inhabit this region. Rather than just directing them to a place where they can check off names on the bird list. I enjoy helping to tease their curiosity and searching for answers.
This is my calling.
And I enjoy spending the occasional self-indulgence of escaping to the wild.
Labels: Adventures, wildlife refuges