To add variety to the blog and to offer a fresh perspective from our visitors, we are inviting guest bloggers to write posts describing their visits and thoughts while at the Reserve. This guest blog is from M.L. Christmas and her send off to Johanna Hripto our Assistant Education Coordinator who has headed off to bigger and better things. Enjoy! (Maggie Pletta, DNERR Education Coordinator & Blog Editor)
Bon Voyage 2 Johanna! Good Luck 2 Her!
Visits to DNERR are always constructive, but beyond taking a specialized walk, a more important reason brought me to the St. Jones Reserve: bidding farewell to Johanna Hripto, Assistant Education Coordinator & Blog Editor. She would soon be leaving DNERR in order to pursue her graduate studies out of state. And my being there that day — and beyond that, my ever having been at the Reserve at all — hinged, at least in part, on a $2 bill.
Yes, a $2 bill. Some people love them. Others hate them. Whichever camp you may occupy, they “still spend,” as we in this household like to quip. They are not rare. They are usually available through your local bank. They are even still in production, at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing , for release into circulation. What does all of this have to do with the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve? Plenty.
Part of my “confetti-ing” Johanna with best wishes was presenting her with a “lucky $2 bill” toward her travels. It’s lucky in the sense that the giver hoped the recipient would not necessarily need to spend it, but if she did, that it might come in handy in a pinch. Such was the case with another $2 bill this guest-blogger presented to someone years ago. That other someone, a now-late friend, ended up needing and using that $2 bill, while hundreds of miles from home, during an unusual set of emergency circumstances. The outcome was a happy one.
So I hoped this $2 bill would prove similarly beneficial for Johanna. The note was hers to spend — or not — however she pleased, in the course of her life’s journey, and to know that my late friend would approve. Think of this process as my continuing to pay it forward, $2 at a time. That late friend is the reason I started volunteering at DNERR in the first place, as a means of honoring her memory.
The rest of the “confetti” dropped upon Johanna was a scan of a graphite sketch by Yours Truly, based on a personally snapped photo. The drawing, entitled “Persistence,” seemed apt: imagery of marsh grasses pushing their way up through the boardwalk at the St. Jones Reserve. To put it in metaphorical terms: Things don’t always occur in the way we anticipate them — akin to the unexpected appearance, from the perspective of the flora and fauna, of a boardwalk out on the marsh ‑‑ but one persists anyway, like the marsh grasses, in seeking every opportunity to develop and to reach toward the sun. One must take advantage of those windows of opportunity, those openings between the planks, wherever they are found.
And so it is, whether with the departure of Johanna Hripto or with the twists and turns of our own lives.
Let us all go forth under the watchword, “Persistence!”
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Text and photos by M.L. Christmas.
M.L. Christmas, MSM, is a freelance writer/editor living in the Dover area. She is a longtime member of Delaware Press Association