22 January 2021


Written by: Bianka Martinez

I often forget that time passes whether or not people notice. Whether you're having a good time or not, it’ll slip right past you.

I keep feeling as if my fellowhip just started and it wasn't until someone pointed out that I was already over halfway through with the program, that it really hit me. A significant part of it has to do with me being so preoccupied with the state of the world. Navigating, a pandemic that cut mostly everyone off from normal human contact, moving halfway across the country, experiencing the fallout of this presidency, dealing with racial tensions boiling over, and just the overall growing pains that would accompany any normal year.

Despite having said time and time again, that I do miss the familiarity and sense of community I managed to carve out back home in Chicago, part of me feels like I haven't made enough of an impact here in Salida. I feel like I haven't done what I set out to do and part of me is worried that I won’t be able to squeeze it all into my 3 remaining months. The motivation that I have to stay in a place that is still so unfamiliar to me and so fast from where I normally call home is, despite the initial stressors, extremely exciting. I feel like I'm barely settling into Salida, Colorado. Becoming familiar with the ins and out, and developing a continuously growing list of places to visit and goals to cross off. 

I’m barely entering the communities I set out to explore, both as an employee of GARNA and the Forest Service, and as a Latina looking for a sense of community. Admittedly, it's been difficult to get that sense of familiarity during a pandemic. It's definitely been a longer period of growing pains that I would have expected. It's taken close to three months to familiarize faces, to know businesses a bit better, to know when there's swells of people, both local and tourists. However what has been most difficult and a bit of a challenge is to find a sort of synergy. 

I’m the kind of person who thrives on change. I don't like staying in one place too long, and I adore the freedom that I have to just pick up and move. However, and this may be due to being thrown so far out of my geographic comfort zone, I've never had one place offer me so much to explore. I am sure this can be attributed to my love of learning new things, and my desire to soak everything in about the Rockies and surrounding environment. 

I’m excited to see what seasonal changes look like here. I enjoy paying attention to the small things like, what blooms first, and water level changing from snow-melt. I’m looking forward to seeing how the town changes and adapts. For lack of better terms, I am extremely geeked out to see what the future holds for myself, the country, and all of the people in my life in both a personal and professional capacity.

Agency: U.S Forest Service

Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)

Location: Salida Ranger District

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