“So tell me, what are you doing all day?” That’s what Elaine asked me. I stumbled a bit because, honestly, I’m a little embarrassed that I am not doing more. Now that I’m over the initial milestones (catching up on sleep, reading, and cleaning) there is a plethora of time before me and, at the moment, I am wasting this most precious commodity.
About 23 years ago I finished up my Masters’ degree and washed my hands of geology and geochemistry. Undergraduate ideals of ivory towers and collaborative thinking totally shattered beneath the pounding hammer of competitive funding and continuous backstabbing in the post graduate world. I struggled to complete my studies, and at times I think the professors pitied my naiveté and passed me out of good humor. Fortunately, my sister also was enduring the torture of a higher degree (she tolerated it so well she got the PhD as well) and I heard periodically via Mom and Dad that I was not alone in my utter disappointment in academia. Since those dark days, I turned my eyes from geology except insofar as it helped me understand geophysics. However, a small but powerful beam of light shines in my eyes again thanks to Oregon, the Geology State.
In July we spent a little over a week traveling around southern Oregon. We planned 2 nights in each of 4 locations; Florence (near Sand Dunes), Gold Beach (near the Giant Redwoods), Chiloquin (near Crater Lake), and La Pine (near Newberry National Volcanic Monument). After visiting the last 2 sites, I’m completely jazzed about geology again. Yup, I even pulled books out of the library to learn more … volcanology never really played a role in my career in the oil industry so my 20+ year-old knowledge really needs a reboot. Just a few weeks ago I walked across a lava field, walked through a lave tube, and tramped over a massive obsidian flow!! I really want to go out to Montana to see where a glacial lake catastrophically drained leaving massive ripples that you can see on Google maps. I found my big box of rocks (that I am now shipping across the country!) and am totally excited to pull out the samples for my kids and talk about how they formed. Except I can’t remember. Yeah. I can’t remember. So this is now what my precious time will be spent doing — reading up on geology and re-learning everything I deliberately forgot. Only this time it will be for my pleasure and I will follow whatever tributary I want to follow as I learn about this amazing world.
Oh, right, and Steve and I are going to learn German together too.