Allow me to introduce my housemates — two brand new seasonal rangers who will be guiding tours in the Fiery Furnace and who are learning Arches from the ground up as we speak. We share a pleasant 3-BR house just a few blocks from the visitor center.
Here’s Joel, from Indiana. He’s 28 and has a master’s in planetary geology, so he can’t stop talking about the rocks. I’m loving it. He is quite patient with me when I get my layers confused, or mix up “members” with “formations.” Yesterday he taught me the geologic symbol shorthand for our local layers as he squinted one-eyed out our picture window and drew all the layers on the glass with a dry-erase marker, and then drew feet on the linoleum floor so anybody could see his masterpiece from his exact vantage point. Joel is an accomplished yoga practitioner, bursts into song without any provocation, and finds everything “sweeeeet.” He uses impeccable grammar to freely and effortlessly speak his mind. Incredible cook and baker — carrot maple muffins, blueberry scones, and other delights aroma-tize our kitchen.
Lauren, 27, from New Hampshire, is an environmental educator and backcountry specialist and has spent much time on the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains. There are dozens of adventurous stories in her that I can’t wait to hear. I liked her instantly when she picked up chopsticks for our first spaghetti dinner. Lauren’s quiet demeanor provides counterbalance for Joel’s buoyancy. She will be my go-to resource for botany, as she’s quite good at IDing plants. She is also an accomplished rock climber — HOORAY! — and we will find some good routes to shred once the weather moderates. In this photo she is preparing her favorite pizza for us: whole wheat crust, organic tomato sauce, sauteed vegetables (spinach, onion and paper-thin sweet potato), black beans, and mozzarella cheese. WOW.
Roommates can make a situation better or worse. In my case, it’s certainly the former.