Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pursuing passion

I've always admired people with passion.  People who know their passion are willing to commit time and energy and resources to advance the cause that holds their heart. 

I've never been able to point to just one thing that is my passion. I flit from one area of interest to another like a hummingbird relentlessly moving from flower to flower, drawing nectar from one bloom and then another. This may be why writing is so gratifying for me.  As a writer, I have the pleasure - the honor, I would say - of meeting people with passion, drawing in some of that passion, and then sharing it with others through my articles.

A couple of months ago, I traveled to eastern Iowa to talk with three people who have spent the last 13 years organizing and leading volunteer efforts to restore the pioneer cemeteries in Jackson County.  Doing the research, working with land owners, acquiring the right of ways,  getting the materials, completing the heavy work in the heat of summer.  It is hard work, but rewarding.  "Because the people there are not forgotten." 

Fortunately, these people show no signs of stopping.  They have restored a handful of perhaps 100 pioneer cemeteries in the county.  You can read about them in the article I wrote for the March/April 2009 issue of The Iowan.

Just this week I spoke with a woman who is passionate about slugs. Yes, slugs. Slugs so small that for years she didn't even know they existed because they were about the size of grains of sand.  Although she is virtually a professional, she considers herself a citizen scientist, someone who is just being observant of - and caring about - our natural environment.  

Her passion is contagious. Because of her, I may find my way to participating in an Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation 'bioblitz' sometime this year.  And putting in the patch of native prairie grasses and flowers I've thought about for years. And I will write about her.

And then I will flit off to someone else with passion.

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