Monday, July 7, 2014

Wins The Race

A picture captures

A turtle running away

Half of the story

The group decided to get in touch with our creative side by using a descriptive picture and a haiku. This week’s blog theme centers on the idea that pictures can be a great way to express an idea or represent an experience.

This picture was taken on my adventure through Menomonie. I stopped on the side of Lake Menomin for a break (which is still beautiful, by the way, and has very few algae spots thus far).  After what seemed like a long enough break I returned to my bike and was startled by a turtle lounging in the sun.  He must have not seen me either, as he didn’t move when I approached him.  Upon fumbling with my phone to snap what I thought was going to be a great shot, the turtle turned around and ran off.  I never saw a turtle run, and I definitely never saw a turtle run so fast.

I remember being frustrated.  Not that the turtle ran away, but that I only caught him in one shot, one position.  Why didn’t I have the video on, I tell myself.  That “great shot” I got was nothing compared to the video I could have gotten.  The remarkable action of this turtle sprinting off and belly flopping into the water was the aspect I wanted to remember.  It seemed silly.  The fact that it didn’t happen on camera, didn’t mean the event was any less remarkable. 

That’s when I realized, whatever outcome I achieve through this research program, it will only be a glimpse into the whole story.  I also realized I didn’t need proof that it happened to know it was remarkable.  And even if it is remarkable, there will always be a better shot just out of reach.  We are now at the midpoint of this program and I could not be more grateful to have been a part of it.  I have learned so much already; about myself, interdisciplinary work, and the dedication required to conduct large-scale research.    

Researching and collecting data is not only about the results that get published or the conclusions that are drawn.  It is also about considering what is going on after the picture is taken, or before the photographer fumbles with their camera. Taking the right steps to get the perfect picture, or making a mistake and being able to see more clearly in hindsight. 

The research done here will be only a stepping stone into the future, and I don’t intend to stop working (or sprinting down the beach), even after the picture is taken. 

And if all else fails, just go for a hike.

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