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COLLEEN IVERSEN

I am a scientist.

I am curious. I walk through a forest, dissatisfied with the dappled light dancing over green leaves. I want to know what is hidden beneath the surface. The rhythmic pulsing of roots being born, living, and dying. They are the life support system for the towering trees above, and the compost for a multitude of creatures, big and small.

 

I am an explorer. I look up and catch my breath at the view of the vast and alien landscape around me—it could be another planet. I dig into the tundra, down, down—a few inches that span a millennia—until I reach the permanently frozen soil and have to stop. I wonder, how does the living interact with the dead and decaying? What does the future hold for a frozen ecosystem that is quickly thawing?

 

I am a child. My wild blonde curls blow in the wind as I run through the tall grass, kneeling on skinned knees, rushing to flip over one more rock, one more log before we have to go inside for dinner.

 

I am a mom. I hold my boys in arms that have been made strong from digging in the dirt. I lean their head on shoulders that have felt the burden of being the new, the first, the only. I rescue a worm from the chubby fingers of a toddler that has dug it from its moist home. I dream of the dark matter that sparks the imagination of a boy with green eyes.

 

I am a scientist.