Ranger Kathryn's Arches

July 10, 2011

Tempus fugit

It happens — relentlessly, incessantly, without end, amen. Time flies. If you say it in Latin instead of English, it adds mystery to the already-inscrutable reality. Every good thing comes to a close.

A sigh escapes as I shake my head and wonder how it can even be possible. Only a few days remain in my assignment, and there are so many more raptor nests to visit. Dozens of remote locations to survey. More miles to hike. I’ll not come close to finishing it all, even if I had another month.

I’ve learned how to leave almost no trace when I hike in the backcountry. I’ve lost my fear of (and confusion about) using a GPS. I’ve found out how fully alive I feel when the cry of a Red-tailed Hawk pierces the sky above me. I’ve added a couple dozen bird songs to my ID repertoire. I’ve confronted my apprehensions about getting lost in the wilderness, and added “finding my way out” to my list of accomplishments. I’ve tracked the phenology of the seasons, from earliest spring blooms to midsummer barrenness. I’ve followed the life-and-death drama of a heron rookery, from nest-building through fledging. Too often to count, I’ve gone where I had never set foot before.

I am changed… and I am grateful.

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