On Being Conscious of my Treasures

Young woman taking photo of a plant

On Being Conscious of my Treasures

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” 

Thornton Wilder

During a hike this week, I paused at the top of a hill, soaking in sweeping views of the foggy coastal prairie ecosystem and the grand Pacific Ocean. I had packed a salad and leftover saffron rice, and ate as I took in the crisp breeze and spirited chirps from a nearby white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys). In this moment, surrounded by the natural treasures of the Marin Headlands, a feeling of extreme gratitude washed over me, and I felt truly alive. 

I reflected on the many privileges in my life, including the opportunity to explore the field of science communication in a beautiful and biodiverse environment. Through this internship, I have found the perfect fusion between two of my main interests— ecology and media production. Out in the field, I am able to experience and learn about California ecosystems first-hand, as well as collect media materials about them. In the office, I am able to develop ways to communicate information about these wonders through various media formats, including my main project, an interactive, multimedia ArcGIS StoryMap. I have had the opportunity to meet and learn from many SFAN scientists, peers, and my amazing mentor, Jessica Weinberg McClosky. 

Lichen-covered rocks are in the foreground and a path runs through a hilly landscape covered in vegetation. A beach separates the ocean on the right from a lagoon on the left.
A view from the Coastal Trail in the Marin Headlands (NPS / Environment for the Americas / Avani Fachon).

From seeing spawning grunions (Leuresthes tenuis) blanketing the beach in the darkness of a new day, to watching orange-pink sunsets color the ocean landscape, to holding a bright yellow Wilson’s warbler (Cardellina pusilla), I’ve been making many deposits into my life-long memory bank. Sometimes, it can be easy to pass through these glorious memories without throwing them the celebration they deserve. I cherish moments like this one atop the foggy hill, when I take time to pause, breathe, and ensure that my heart is conscious of the many treasures in my life.

Sunset in the Marin Headlands (NPS / Environment for the Americas / Avani Fachon).

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