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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I know it seems strange to start a blog called Being John Muir with a picture from a recently released film, but it will make sense in a moment. It is this exact film that inspired me to start this blog (and the insistence of my sister). This film truly appreciated nature, adventure, animals, exploration, and beauty. In one particular scene, to which I could not find an exact picture of, the photographer Sean O’Connell sat on a mountain top in Central Asia patiently awaiting the appearance of a majestic and mysterious Snow Leopard. The image through his camera lens of the elusive Snow Leopard is gorgeous, but it is what he says that truly hits at home for me as a conservation biologist. Walter Mitty asks Sean why he hasn’t taken the picture yet and Sean’s answer is absolutely correct. Sean explains that some moments he just wants for himself, to not taint them with his photo, just to let it seep in and he tells him, “beautiful things do not look for attention”.

This is how I feel about nature, wildlife, the beauty of our planet. Though I do want to have a career in conservation, in the field, working with wildlife, ultimately, with or without a job my passion for this planet remains simply due to those beautiful things that do not look for attention; a lioness hunting a gazelle, a butterfly landing on someone’s hand, an orangutan looking out at you with such wisdom, a rainbow colored snake slithering into it’s hole. All of these small moments are something I wish to treasure and experience over and over again. The only thing I do not agree with is keeping such moments to myself all the time. I am a strong supporter of education. I want other people to see the beauty in small things, animals they think are undesirable, and understand that to live on a planet without animals would be devastating .

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