Fall. Falling. Fallen. Fell.

With the beginning of school, the opening of the WMA, a fancy new space phone, and a new month settling in…thus begins fall.
Even the weather reflects the shift in seasons: it has been unseasonably cool for August…for once.  Hopefully it will stick for the avid football fans who will soon fill giant Sanford Stadium; baking in the sun while rooting on our beloved bulldogs might be a part of the initiation for UGA students, but it is certainly not enjoyable. 
I cannot help but feel a little dizzy at how fast the summer went by.  It seems like only yesterday I walked across the stage in room 100 and accepted a certificate of completion from Dean Clutter, thanked my family and friends, and walked into adulthood.  Since then, autumn isn’t the only thing that has fallen into place. 
I fell back in love with martial arts.  Frankly, I’m not sure I ever fell out of love; I think my passion for it was just dormant for a while.  AKF Athens (and Oconee) welcomed me home, and after graduation I became a little bit of a dojang rat—you know, like mall rats, kids that never seem to leave.  Here in the woods I do not have the comfort of my studio: familiar students, fabulous teachers, mats I all too often meet at quicker speeds than I intend…and I miss it terribly.  But, as one of my teachers said: As a light summer breeze can change direction so must we follow the direction that life takes us. 
With that, I fell into step here: my first big girl job out of college.  Some of you have probably heard about my adventures: from stuck trucks to big bears to hair snares to little bears to tracking to tears (love that the English language has the same word for two words) to barbed wire to hicks, I’ve tried to write about it all.  I quickly fell into the habit (in May, while I was alone for a week or two) of writing a lot and writing often.  It kept things from getting too quiet.  Once my cabinmates got here, things were never quiet: though I cannot complain, and I think I can say that I gained two friends through this CRAZY living situation. 
And I gained (hopeful) security for my next two years.  But that is another story for another time, when more details have fallen into place.  For now, suffice to say I am continuing to fall deeper and deeper in love with these beautiful, bumbling, black bears, with no end of my infatuation in sight.
What else is falling into my life? 
Rain.  Lots of it.  This summer we have seen a true break in our Georgia drought—though I think technically it ended a year or so ago—and MAN have we seen some rain. 
People.  Everywhere from Ocmulgee WMA  to Perry to Athens, I’m meeting new people and falling into new circles and having new people fall into old circles.  It’s fabulous to see new faces, new hearts, new minds, new personalities.  Animals are incredible, simple, awe inspiring, cool, and of course cute, but they ain’t got nothing on people.
Choices.  Let’s be real, choices are always falling into our lives.  Part of having the kind of brain we have (or really, a brain at all) is that we get to choose: this or that, now or later, yes or no.  From the beginning of human history—whether you’re thinking of Adam and Eve or recently-transformed-apes or Olypmus’s subjects—we have always had choices.  I guess it is fresh in my mind because I have had some big ones on my plate as of late.  Time will tell if I made the right ones.  But, sometimes making the right choice is really more like falling into it than waltzing confidently into it. 
Sometimes things just fall into place.

Post script:  I tracked a mortality signal from bear 157 today.  Mortality signals can mean several things. 1) we have a dead bear. 2) the collar dropped from a live bear. 3) GPS goofed, and the collar is actually active and still on a live bear.
Today it was option one.  I’m not sure what happened.  
But, since she’s a bear, and not a person, she doesn’t get a burial, or a eulogy, or an obituary in the Macon Telegraph.  Unless, I suppose, I give her one here.
157 was a little bit of a thing we trapped on private land at the end of July.  Actually, she was the second bear I darted that was caught in a snare! So COOL!  She weighed about 80 pounds, but was a mama bear (two yearlings!).  I told my parents that night she reminded me of me, a little.  She’s so small, yet kept on truckin’ with those two kids who were almost her size.  157 was also the only bear I’ve successfully tracked on my own.  I found her in a beautiful hardwood, hiding up there with her two yearlings. Also, SO COOL.
But, life doesn’t always turn out like you’d expect, as I have been saying all along.  
Sometimes it throws you a curve ball, sometimes, when you least expect it, you fall victim to mortality.

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