2021: Hour Twenty – Research at Night

enthusiasm does not extinguish fear
deep in the cloud forest of costa rica
i once was a young scientific researcher
studying an insect that exhibited maternal instincts
unusual for insect behavior
days spent searching the forests
to find a few populations of treehoppers to study

I found a great site not too far from our home base
curiosity got my mind going
wondering what behaviors I would see at night
not one other student wanted to see the brood
of bugs I was studying in the dark of night
with my headlamp and bright blue rubber boots
I was ready to explore

the first section was through open field
the lights of the property kept visibility up
but then I had to turn down the dirt road
thick with forest on either side

all was going smoothly
feeling pretty good about myself
confidence colored my stride
and then something bright and huge and moving
with eyes
appeared

I swiveled 180 degrees and started to run back the way I’d came
a voice in my head said, “wait:

is that something cool?

It was – a tall, white owl perched on a branch over the trail
it’s eyes fixed on me
a few breaths and I was in appreciation mode

once out of it’s sight, without it’s bright appearance
the darkness wrapped around me again
only the small beam of my headlamp lighting the way

I made it to the plant where the brood of treehoppers lived
Quickest notes I had ever taken
I rushed back, slowing to a speed walking pace not running
so I didn’t miss anything cool

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