In my opinion, as biased as it may be, no place does Fall better than Colorado. Unfortunately, isolated points in time of beauty and grace are never eternal. As temperatures drop, so do the vibrant leaves that had once painted the mountain sides across this glorious state, taking their place in the seasonal cycle of change and new beginnings. Black Canyon got its first taste of this new beginning this past week with a premature winter storm that blanketed the canyon with three inches of snow. Personally, after living in Colorado for 22 years, waking up to snow after months of sunshine and warmth just makes me want to crawl back to bed and snuggle with a hot cup of peppermint tea and a good movie, but unfortunately, three inches is far from a guarantee for a day off. So how did I spend this snowy day? Picking invasive plants at restoration sites for seven hours.
Curecanti National Reacreation Area is located about an hour away from Black Canyon and is where we do most of our restoration work and vegetation monitoring. When the snow storm hit Black Canyon, it very conveniently missed Curecanti, so off we went, leaving our wonderland behind us, and any chance of reacquainting myself with the cozy warmth of my bed. I know the importance of our work and I am grateful to have work to do, especially with the crew I am with, but picking Kochia on my hands and knees in the cold for hours on end is definitely not what tickles my fancy.
Alas, like any experience, whether it be favorable or not, there is always a way to turn it around into a positive learning experience. In this case, I learned that Kochia is an annual plant, meaning that channeling all your anger into wrestling the dead root out of the ground is a waste of energy, yet entertaining to those around you who enjoy to watch you struggle. On a more serious note, I also learned that when it comes to new beginnings and new places of work, you always have to do something that you do not particularly like. New beginnings can be really hard and agonizing if you make them out to be. Being still, and doing the work that needs to be done, while learning something on the job is a skill that not a lot of people have and it is not something you can learn over night. It takes time and patience and the willingness to do what you have to in order get to where you want to be in life. There will be plenty of time to sit in bed with tea and a movie, but for right now, its time to buck up an throw a jacket on and hope the feeling in my face comes back after a long day in the field.