Transitions and Deadlines

It is cliche to suggest, “as one chapter ends, another begins.” The funny thing about cliches, they are often fitting. I wanted to set up a blog about my sabbatical for weeks. Friends kept asking how they could get the link and I would put them off because it “wasn’t quite ready yet .” The truth of the matter, of course, is that it wasn’t ready, but “why” it wasn’t there is the stuff of transition. There is the normal assumption that I was busy packing and preparing for the journey; carefully planning out each step of the way, each site to see, interview to have, voraciously consuming guidebooks as most travelers do. Oh, that that were true….

The reality was far less focused on the future than a frantic effort to tie up lose ends in the past. I had been working on a massive six year long project documenting the local sense of place surrounding Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. It is 2 million acres of spectacular scenery made much more spectacular by the connection so many have to it. A connection they shared with me and I tried desperately to capture as a recreational baseline study in over 500 pages of reports. The first 4 are already available on my research site linked in this blog at the Natural Resources Center. The last installment literally took me to 4 am the day I was leaving to start this journey! I packed after that…

in many ways, I am still a student at heart. The deadlines, the late night inspiration (a romantic euphemism for last minute panic…), the desire to find one more source or piece of evidence, or the realization that no matter how much revision you do, it could always be improved… well that is how I have spent the last 35+ years of my life. Sometimes you just have to hit the send button, or climb on the plane.

So I sit here in the wee hours of the morning managing jet lag in a Dublin hostel and finally get to setting up this blog to chronicle a new chapter in my research, and a turn from a project that has taken up so much of my attention for so long. The final report will be up on the website in a month or less, this sabbatical sojourn in Europe will last much longer than that.

Now I turn once again to the journey ahead, let the adventure (finally…) begin….