A year ago, my dream came true. A year ago, after years of agonizing wait, I walked into the Herpetology Department as a full time employee. Sometimes when a long-anticipated dream comes true at last, the sad discovery is that the reality doesn’t quite live up to the expectation. But sometimes it’s even better than imagined. And that’s where I’m sitting right now.

A year later, I still can’t believe my good fortune. Every, single day is an exciting adventure. Sometimes I stick to my regular routine, but most days there is some variation that provides color and makes me love my job even more.

One of my favorite new friends. A Corucia zebrata - Prehensile-tailed skink. They have no eyelids, so he looks this crazy eyed all the time.

One of my favorite new friends. A Corucia zebrata – Prehensile-tailed skink. They have no eyelids, so he looks this crazy eyed all the time.

I’ve learned so much this year, not the least of which is that I have so much more to learn. Routine is not equal to knowledge, friends. In many cases, I know what to do and how to do it, but not necessarily the why. But that part will come. Every day I make some new discovery that is old hat for my co-workers but is brand-spanking new knowledge for me. I stick those nuggets of learning in my pocket.

The year hasn’t been perfect. There are down sides to everything. I miss things at home sometimes because I have to work. My worship schedule is catch as catch can these days since I work on Sundays, and that leaves me feeling a little off balance at times. There are heartaches, as well. But there are also glorious triumphs. I savor those, each and every one.

I never get tired of looking at new hatchlings. Do you?

I never get tired of looking at new hatchlings. Do you? How squished up they are in their egg. This is a pancake tortoise.

A year ago, I was working in the afternoon with a rack of colubrids, mostly Grey-Banded Kingsnakes. While I was cleaning their cages and refilling their water bowls, a song came on the radio that I had never heard before. The song was the music in my heart, and I felt like it had been written just for me.

A year later, it’s still my song. It still holds true. I don’t know what magic this next year will hold for me. It could be the year I hatch a tortoise species new to me, or maybe my first ever clutch of snakes. I don’t know what my future holds, but I can’t wait to find out! I do know it’s going to be another happy one. Here’s to my old year, my new year, and my theme song. A year later, it’s still the song of my heart.

What is your happy today?


22 thoughts on “Happy

  1. Oh, to love one’s job. You are indeed lucky. Gray banded kingsnakes are one of my favorites, tho I am fond of kingsnakes in general. Ratsnakes too. Poisonous, not so much. What does that cute skink have on his face? It looks duck weed. 🙂 Have a great day!

  2. Your posts always make me Happy, Heather! Honestly, I’m not sure I could manage being around some of your favorite creatures, but oh! Those turtles get me EVERY. TIME! I still find it so hard to believe that they come out of an egg, with those glorious shells! It’s a wonder, for sure. Happy Anniversary, and mazel for finding your bliss.

  3. haha for the “A penny for your thoughts!” above. My happy today was that you commented on my blog about the Oxford comma….(yay!) and that in your first sentence above I learned a new word. Herpetology. So thank you! And your descriptions are wonderful.

  4. Happy for you and your zoo! And since your enthusiasm and passion is so contagious — happy for the rest of us too!

    And may you never stop learning! There are always unknowns. When we stop learning, it is because we no longer care enough to look for it!

  5. I know this sounds weird, but I was reading your work when you were volunteering at the zoo, but I LOVE that you have a job you love. Getting the job of your dreams is so rare in a life.. we are lucky girls you and I.. love love c

  6. My dream is to find a job that I love as much as you love yours! You don’t see everyday people who love what they are doing, so enjoy your time!

  7. I am so happy for you! (So sorry that I’ve been absent–it’s been rather hectic in my life lately.) You were made for this job. I’ve learned so much from you when you weren’t even technically a full-time employee of the Herpetology Department. I can’t imagine what you’ll be sharing now that you are “official.” And I agree with you about “Happy.” I can’t help but dance when I hear that song. Congrats!

  8. Somehow I missed this post! It is wonderful that you are getting paid to do the thing you love. My daughter still has 2 more years of school before she can begin her hunt for a zookeeper job. May I ask, was herpetology the thing you were wishing for? She has been told by other zookeepers that you take what you can get and eventually you may end up with your favorite animals.

A penny for your thoughts! And by penny, I mean a warm-fuzzy in your heart.

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