So Jacque and I were to become surveyors and survey dozens of streams around the state for our nerdy research project. We had this fancy total station that Jacque had figured out how to use and we were ready to begin our adventures shooting streams and floodplains through crazy vines and branches.

But then time stopped… John was really busy, and if we wanted to keep the project rolling we were just going to have to survey on our own. You are probably thinking that you have already heard this story, and that’s true. When I read Jacque’s story about how she put a smile on her face even though she was scared and felt like she had no idea what she was doing, it was news to me, and so I felt compelled to admit that I too was feeling the same way! I couldn’t let Jacque throw that admission out there and not share my side. We are a team afterall!

I was the grad student, which apparently meant that I should have some clue as to what I was doing… but in reality, I didn’t! Sure, I had plenty of textbook knowledge, but I had very little field experience at that time. But Jacque expected me to know what I was doing and she sure as hell seemed to know what she was doing, so I pretended. I just kind of did what I had seen John do, which meant I would hop right into a stream without a care in the world, without giving much thought as to what may be lurking beneath the waters. To Jacque, I was brave and experienced (or stupid), but in reality I was just naively doing what I thought I was supposed to in order to get the job done.

Back then I wasn’t aware of the danger we were putting ourselves into each and every time we left “the real world” and stepped into a world that very few humans had probably ever been. Each day brought new experiences, some amazing, some terrifying. We shared these experiences together. I don’t know quite when the pretending became true knowledge and understanding, but I do know I will never forget any of it and that I have been forever changed because of it. I applaud Jacque for taking the initiative to share our stories and to hopefully inspire others to discover the world around them!


This guy blends right in!