Summer on a Shoestring


Survival Guide: The Long and Short of it. A memoir of the guy, by Matt Hayden
August 3, 2015, 3:48 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The forest and the city are not so different when you look at things through a proper scale. The biggest change here is time. The hustle of the human timescale locks us in to the perception that a week is a long time, and potential events after two weeks time might as well be as defined as prophecy unless explicitly defined. For the forest, a week may be as slight as a second. The forest remains, and it bows to no schedule.

This is an important lesson to learn for the average Shoestring-er. You see, ten weeks can feel like an eternity when you start in June, but now, it is past mid July and the data is just leaking in. You can’t rush results here. That’s exactly where I fall in- I’m the decomposition guy. My  experiment is literally weeks upon weeks of idling, allowing for the forest to progress along that stretched relative timescale and eat away the tea I laid in the soil. I learned very quickly how to be a capable everyman, because when your dedicated project literally involves doing nothing, everyone on the crew has something that needs to be  done. So to be THE GUY, you need a set of resources:

1) Endless wonder. Whether you’re hammering soil cores, running transects, or waiting for the Li- Cor to do whatever it is the Li- Cor does (magic), keeping an open mind for discovery is essential. You’ll go nuts if your mind isn’t active.

2) Undying optimism. You got SOMETHING for results… could be worse, right?

3) Unwavering confidence. Even if you’re not sure if the Ca plot is to the east or the west of the NP, someone needs to make the call. And hey, who can complain about a little extra exercise?

4) Exceptional navigational skills. The reference in #3 may or may not be fictional. Owning a vehicle is a huge plus.

5) Patience. This- and that- and the other, too- shall come to pass.

Really, I could not have asked for a better, more diverse experience. It has been a huge effort on the part of everyone here, and I am glad I got to tag along for the ride(s). Every day surprises me, and it keeps me sharp and on my toes- an invaluable life skill as a scientist in the field that we should all take away from one or another.

“In the forest I return to my faith and reason” – The Earth Speaks

-M

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