How many times in your life do you get to meet experts like David Sibley, Ted Floyd, and Brad Andres in a span of two weeks? How many people get the amazing opportunity to wake up and do a bird survey as the sun is rising above a majestic mountain range like the Sangre de Cristos? How many times do you get to learn something new about somewhere you have been your entire life? This month has been an amazing journey, and I cannot even express how fortunate I feel to have been given this opportunity.
Being a part of an Environment for the Americas internship program has been challenging, thrilling, and a breathtaking experience, and we are not even finished. We will still get to do NEPA projects, herp surveys, more bird surveys including for Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (SWFL) and Snowy Plovers, and collaborative projects with other employees of the Bureau of Land Management.
My favorite moment of the week occurred during the SWFL survey.
You could hear cows “mooing” in the distance, and coyotes barking as the night was coming to an end. A variety of birds were welcoming the morning sun as it crested the mountainous horizon. I’ve lived here my entire life, and these moments still take my breath away.
As we were walking to the territories watching the sun climb into the sky, I thought of a poem I once read:
If the sunrise ever looks down on our inhabitants,
And holds its breathe as the beauty of life overwhelms even that of the sky.”
For some reason in that moment, I knew that all these surveys and all the outreach we did with students that touched them was for this reason, so the earth can maintain its breathless and amazing function.
It is incredible the peace you can gain from watching a sunrise. It feels like life is beginning and everything has a purpose. I encourage everyone who has yet to watch a sunrise to do so; it is something you need to do before you can say that you have truly lived.
“This is a crazy life we live…but only if you’re crazy enough to really live it.”