The plum tree in our front yard needed tending. It had split in half and fallen over in the last storm and looked pretty sad, lying on the edge of our yard. There was a lot of good hard wood in those limbs, and I wanted to start the seasoning process as soon as possible so we could burn it next winter.
I put on all my safety gear, ear protectors included, fired up my chainsaw and started hacking away at next year’s fuel supply. Bucking up wood can be sort of a zen experience for me. I was absorbed in the moment and was concentrating on what was exactly in front of me. Sharp, cutty things that spin real fast have a way of focusing my attention.
Heather was upstairs cleaning the bedroom when the phone rang.
“Is Greg there?” the woman on the other end asked politely.
“No, he is outside working in the yard. Can I take a message?” Heather said.
“This is Amy Berquist from Lindblad expeditions. I think he’ll want to talk to me.”
That is apparently when the arm waving and hooting started. I was oblivious to Heather’s shenanigans for what must have seemed like forever to her. When I finally saw her, she was just about falling out of our second story bedroom window, waving her arms and shouting.
Needless to say, I was concerned, but I was also “in the zone”, so I was a bit annoyed at being pulled off the job.
“What is it?” I asked, somewhat annoyed.
“You have a phone call.” she shouted across the front lawn. A big smile was on her face.
“Just take a message.” I gruffly replied.
“NO…Greg…I think you want to take this. They’re calling from New York”
I dropped the chainsaw.
“It couldn’t be,” I thought to myself. I had applied to be a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow back in December.
For the last month, When I though about the possibility of becoming a fellow, I usually just said to myself, “Don’t get your hopes up…it’s pretty competitive.”
Heather dropped me the phone and the kind woman on the other end told me her name was Amy Berquist, and she had some good news for me. At this point I was really confused because I thought I was talking to Amy Berkowitz, a parent of a former student. I shook off the confusion and just listened.
“How would you like to go to the Arctic this summer?”
Everything from then on is pretty blurry. I think we mainly talked logistics. I know I got a little teary. I might have sworn a little bit, too. Something like…
“No shit. The Arctic?”