The only thing awkward about preparing this post was trying to bury the joy of it. It is almost embarrassing how full of smiles and laughs some of the photos were. They are now hidden in the Readings From The Northside archive forever. Doing science with a tragically endangered species like the Piping Plover is supposed to be a dour affair. Even if you’re loving the work, it might be in poor taste to let anyone see you smile. And this was an especially tough mission. The Tace-ters brood is getting so big, so strong, and so rogue. It took a lot of coordination, communication, and focus to get it done.
So I tried my hardest, picking only the most serious photos, but I don’t think it really worked. Because the truth is, in the end, the whole reason for taking these risks and doing all this hard work is because the PIPL are so adorable, hilarious, magnificent, and wonderful. They go hand in hand with the Jersey Shore. They were born of it. All of the magic of summer down the shore is contained in the life of every single itty bitty. Even our future is packaged up in their. So even the scientists, with all of their training, and all of their experience, and with the gravity of the work, aren’t immune to it. And besides, a smile always trumps a frown in terms of the heart of what is happening here, and as the proper antidote to the crappy reality they face and that the scientists have to look at under the microscope everyday.
It’s a true bummer that we have created a world where being happy and full of love is the awkward path, while fear, silence, and coldness is the safe route. I suppose we owe Michelle, Rebecca, Kyle, Meghan, and Kelsey a huge thank you: not only for working so hard to protect our very last little bit of wild beach from being snuffed out, but for sharing their smiles, and laughter, and reminding us all what it is really all about in the end.
We can attempt to save the Piping Plover out of guilt, or fear, or because someone tells us we have to. But that’s just so awkward and uncomfortable. By my reckoning it is way, way easier and more fun to do it for the simple reason that they are just so adorably awesome. Especially when they start getting all awkward and gangly.