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.
- Throughout the tundra in Atigun Pass I carried fifteen small cages on my back with Schlepper #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”.
- I caught my first AGS. Victor calls her “Gray-Gray”, because those are her ear tag colors. GG is notorious and feisty.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I looked at this beauty all day:
- I rode the camp bikes to the lake with Victor, stripped down to nothing, and jumped in.
- 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.
- I fell back in love with scientific research, inquiry, precision, hard work, and creativity. I’m home again.