It’s been a wild and crazy couple of months for me. I’ve had the joy of participating in two field courses that were the last two classes for my MS in biology. One class was in the mountains and one was at the beach. One was a two-week adventure in trapping mice and shrews and wood rats all while learning about mammalian physiology. The other was a foray into a very foreign world for me—the lab. I learned to dissect a stingray and extract tissues and pipette and measure out tiny amounts of liquids to isolate RNA and understand more about what was going on inside of these amazing little creatures. I learned that mouse feces in peanut butter are indeed as gross as you might imagine. And stingrays make a lot of urea in their huge livers. And as unlikely as it seems, you can learn enough in two weeks to write a three-hour final exam. I learned that some people are great. And some people are kind of lame. And Mississippi is hot, really, stinkin’ hot. And I love school. And I can’t stand school. And there is always more to learn.
It’s been fun to be away from my life for a few weeks—to step outside of my routine and realize that there is a whole world going on in parallel with my own. It’s so easy to get myopic and wrapped up in my life and forget that while I’m sweating in my urban desert, Mississippi is besieged by a humidity that would have made Adam and Eve reconsider clothing. And while I hang out at my coffee shop in my town, there are great people eating at a café in a little town in the mountains of North Carolina, people that I loved getting to know. And everywhere, all day long, life is happening.
I feel blessed to have gotten to be a tiny part of the lives of a bunch of people this summer and to have them be a part of my life too. I made friends and had adventures and was reminded that the world is a big place that is full of all kinds of people and animals and compounds and experiences. But I was also reminded that no matter how much you go out and find the new, there is also beauty in the known. There is a beauty in the moments when you are a little bit myopic and sitting comfortably in your own life next to the people that you choose to spend your days with.
My life will forever be other than it would have been because of my adventures this summer. And for that I am thankful. But I am just as thankful that I have a life to come back to. A life that I love. A life that has enough space in it for my summer musings and enough love in it for me to settle back into my routine as the slightly changed person that I am. Because at the end of the day, all adventures really do is take the scenic route on the road that leads us home. And we all know that there is no place like home. And home is where the heart is. Maybe the real adventure is finding that place, and I feel blessed to have found mine by way of so much love and beauty.
Where have your travels taken you so far this summer?