Sunday, May 27, 2007

from the levee to the river

I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. My new temporary job is rather demanding - in a physical way. I get up at 3:30 a.m. and return home about 10 hours or so later. I eat then I nap then I get up and make dinner. Then I try to get to bed early only to begin the day again. Weekends are spent trying to recoup some of the physical energy that I expend during the week. The job is one physical challenge after another. All of my time is spent between the levee and the river, in strip of land that can be narrow to wide. I have to look everywhere for the illusive bird. The terrain is flat but it is covered with dense stickery shrubs and trees, choking woody vines and "mountains of dead" (convoluted masses of downed cottonwood, Russian olive and tamarisk trees) that seems impenetable. That is when you will hear me pleading "I just want out of here!!" Yet we have to work our way through this vegetation. I think I am actually getting better at navigating through this mass but I still find myself completely boxed in at times with no where to go. I crawl, I climb, I crass through stickery Russian Olive with my gloved hands protecting my eyes. It is crazy. I am bruised and scratched. Badges of honor. If you aren't - you are suspected of not doing your job!!

This is an incredible change from my desk job but one that I love as a field biologist at heart. It is not for everyone and there are times when it is too much for me. It is hard to explain but I see things every day that keep me coming back for more. I tried to post the following a couple of weeks ago but then I got busy with my Dad's health problems. He is home now and doing very well. We have all been pampering him with attention!

2 Weeks Ago:

I am just about to begin my second full week of work looking for willow flycatchers here in the wilds of the Rio Grande south of Albuquerque. My days have been a whirl of looking, crashing through dense brush, trying to cover 2 miles of terrain, wondering how it can take so long to cover all of it in about 4.5 hours of time. My sleep schedule is totally hosed, I should be sleeping now - I have to to get up in less than 4 hours.

As soon as I arrived here, my 84 year old Dad had to undergo open heart surgery. I am so thankful to be here to help in his recovery. It is truly a blessing. This temporary job opportunity came out of nowhere and was very unlikely. My first thought at accepting it was the idea that I would be able to spend more time with my Dad. Little did I know that it would be so precious. This all just reinforces my belief that the universe offers each of us exactly what we need. We just need to be open to the possibilities.

I have been taking photos everyday but have had little time to even download them all.

Back to the present:

I am SLOWLY going through my photos. I take my camera everyday and hope to document exactly what our experience is like. I have many stories to tell....but for now I need to catch up on my sleep!


At 9:21 AM, Blogger Cool Daddio said...

Wow can't wait to hear more of your great adventure! Best wishes to you and your Dad.

At 4:33 PM, Blogger Ellie said...

Ah yes, thickets, nasty to get through, but have you seen the flycather. I know there are about 22 species of flycatchers but my "Birds of North America" field guide doesn't have the willow. I've only seen the Great Crested here in Minnesota. Good Luck.

At 10:24 AM, Blogger Monterey John said...

Hey Kathy, life sounds exciting for you! Glad you are still kicking.

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous paul said...

Kathy, that sounds like an exciting adventure. I can't wait to hear more about it.


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