Although these past ten weeks will only be a small fraction of time in my life, I can say that the memories that I created at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, will be ones that I could not possibly forget. I will remember the way the morning sun feels after it has crept over the canyon walls to land softly on my skin while I drink my morning tea on the porch. I will remember the roar of the Gunnison River while I stand 2,000 feet above it on one of the many astounding overlooks. I will remember the stillness that came with seeing the breath taking Milky Way almost every night streaking across the night sky. I will remember the serendipitous feeling of fall when I walked through a brilliance of oranges, reds, and yellows of the local aspens and oak brush.
Of course in the time I spent there, I will remember the outstanding staff of BLCA the most. I will remember the long drives to and from Curecanti NRA with the vegetation crew, Jayme and Matt. I will remember growing together and learning from each other and the endless laughs along the way. I will remember Forest and Audrey, the other half of the resources crew at BLCA, and their unquenchable search for knowledge, with a few lovable quirks thrown in. I will remember my corky, yet lovable, interpretation crew and never really knowing what each day would entail, but look forward to trying new things non the less. I will remember Ranger Mike’s endless impersonations of famous actors that were thoroughly enjoyed by the visitors, most of the time. I will remember the ladies of the Western National Park Association (WNPA) and their endless kindness and laughter. I will remember Ranger Louis’s unquenchable thirst for adventure and desirable cooking skills. I will remember Nick and his delightful perspectives on life followed by wits of humor and a non-stop battle with Subaru eating squirrels. I will remember my wonderful room mate, Eric, and listening to his late night jam sessions followed by lovely conversations. Lastly, I will remember my fantastic supervisors, Danguole and Paul. To be able to work under people who not only love what they do, but are willing to teach and give so much of what they know to others, is an outstanding trait that is rare to find. I am honored to have been able to learn under them and feel like a part of the family.
My time here shaped me and helped me learn more about myself and what I want to do with my life. My final moments at Black Canyon were filled with fun and laughter. One of my best friends came to visit as well as my parents. Mexican food was the theme of farewell as both my resources crew and interpretation crew took me out to a couple fantastic Mexican restaurants. Of course like any fleeting moments of happiness, they passed by quicker than Paul running to his morning coffee (always caffeinated because anything else is malarkey).
I am not measured by the jobs I have had, or who I choose to love, or the GPA I graduated with, or the amount of money I make, or the size of house I live in, or the amount of friends I have, or the type of clothes I wear, or the places I have been, or the amount of “qualified” experience I have, or anything that would physically deem me to be a successful person of society. I am measured by time. I am not talking about a tangible length, or time management, or what I can accomplish as quickly as I can, or how fast I can climb the federal latter before I am 30 years old.
I have been shaped and molded by time. In time I have been broken down and built back up again. In time I have conquered things I would have never imagined I could. In time I have fallen in and out of love over and over again, each time more painful than the last. In time I have seen true kindness and overwhelming hatred. In time I have mourned death and praised new life. In time I have encountered the most amazing people who have blinked in and out of my life like fireflies in the night. In time I have seen beauty that I will never forget.
In my time at BLCA I have made lifelong connections with unforgettable people and saw a small glimpse of the magnificence Mother Nature has to offer. In time, I hope this this the first of many adventures in my life. Thank you.