Since I left the Aquarium in April of this year, I have been healing (my body notified me dramatically that it will no longer be ignored), writing, and networking. I have updated my resume to reflect my rich experience in education, program development and management, capacity building (basically just helping people expand their horizons, skills, and knowledge), and volunteer management.
But I am looking for a new type of work that may be in a field well beyond marine biology. I want to work with people who want what I have to offer and love their work, people like the volunteers I left behind at the Aquarium. These wonderful volunteers love to learn, are curious about the world, and really want to make a positive difference. These are the kinds of people I need in my work life.
In between job hunting and healing and networking, I have been photographing bugs and my garden and virtually anything with an interesting texture or design. I have spotted several bumble bee species in my garden nectaring on the red clover that springs up along the burnt edges of what passes for my lawn, and on the flowering herbs and other bumble-bee friendly flowers in my small garden. Strangely, many perennial plants that grew tall last year and bloomed in mid-July last summer are much shorter and developing flowers already; is it the early heat?
Last Monday I presented "Six-Hearted Sex," a Powerpoint about giant Pacific octopus reproduction. I had detailed notes to go with my photos, but like the pollinator presentation I gave last year at Scarabs (the local entomology group), it was too dark to read them. So, I just dove into my inner entertainer. I had a great time, reflected by a cheering crowd and crowned by one nine year old boy's final comment "You are a-m-a-z-i-n-g!"
Back to the garden. Increased heat and more days of it means more plant-chomping critters. Even in the many painted pots I use to expand my garden space, herbivorous insects have been making forays. First it was cabbage white butterfly larvae, hiding by day along the spines of dinosaur kale leaves. Wise to their camouflage, I picked their unmoving kale-green bodies off the leaves at night and popped them into my carnivorous pitcher plants. Now I have leaf miners (larvae of an as yet unidentified insect) skeletonizing rainbow chard leaves. If I catch them before they pupate, I pick them out of the middle of the leaf layers and feed them to the half dozen sundew plants on the windowsill. Yum. And big old black flies that enter the house, well, this says it all in my sort-of poem, "Nightcap":
A big, black, buzzing housefly,
the kind that seems almost too huge to be airborne,
keeps banging into the shower curtain,stuck in her routine.
House-bound flies like this used to drive me nuts
Now, they delight me
Because I have plans.
For this big fly.
“Just stick around, honey,
I have someone I want you to meet.
Her name is Venus
She’s outside right now visiting the garden,
I’m bringing her pot in for the night.
Can you say: Venus flytrap?
I'll add more photos once I figure out how.