My last few days as a National Park Ranger were not all I hoped they would be. A struggle with forces beyond my control over a small matter reddened my eyes and quieted my laughter. But this same struggle showed me how many of my fellow rangers cared and supported me. So now as I breathe in the thick, heady scent of roses and honeysuckle that surrounds Groundwell Farm, I can look back upon my days at the great Mammoth Cave with kindness and respect.
I look at the shiny toes of my boots
The numbers scratched onto and out of my NPS notebook bring back to me the many pleased visitors that proved that my partners and myself could accomplish what we set out to do.
On Monday afternoon, when I slipped that key into its hole and watched the bolt slide home, I knew I was giving up something tremendous. But I believe I am going into something just as tremendous. And today, as we paddled around Barren River Lake noticing shaley layers and dolomitic layers of limestone; watching a green heron for many, many, long minutes; seeing insects we'd never seen before, wondering which new plants we were encountering; thinking about the communities who used to farm the hillsides; we also remembered all of the geologists, birders, entomologists, botanists, archeologists, schoolteachers and other amazing people we worked beside and learned from over the past two years. They have permanently enriched my life.
Thank You Mammoth Cave Guide Force. Rock On!