“When you’re looking up there, do you know how to tell a planet from a star?” I replied that I don’t know any astronomy; I meant to learn but it had escaped me. With one broad gesture and a performer’s easy grace, he took me across the sky, showing what he knew and, when one spot came into our walking view, pointing out Mars. “You see, stars are brighter but they flicker and someday burn out. Planets keep shining though, they won’t fade away.”
My role in the fishing license project became well-rounded capacity support. The team was curious how Hawaii’s demographics could impact a noncommercial system, so I analyzed that data. They needed licensing trends from other states, so I presented that information with graphs. The manager wanted research on angler willingness to pay, so I compiled what I found. The project is dynamic: I did as much as I could, and the next intern will make entirely different contributions. My work was warmly received and I am proud of what I added to their team. Exploring fisheries and economic analysis helped me grow, hone important skills, and narrow my interests.
We settled among others in the sand, everyone enjoying moonlight on the water and darkness on the beach. As the fire dancer doused his wicks in gasoline, I discussed Hawaii with a fellow visitor. Then, with the strike of a match, he commanded our attention. He stepped slowly as the flames sped into hypnotic circles around his body. They streaked across the darkness like comets through outer space. He looked beautiful and otherworldly.
The media project grew into an informative video describing the ecological monitoring. After many hours editing in Adobe Premiere, I transformed the footage: many complex subjects, from the community’s meaning to the importance of collecting data, became one accessible story. Colleagues and members of the community appreciated the video and my documenting their work. As my first big project in years, it was wonderful to be behind the camera again and relearn production techniques. I had forgotten how much I enjoy telling stories visually and how natural editing can feel. It’s as though these skills, too long underused, were waiting in the darker margins of my mind. Just looking for a match.
The orbiting flames dimmed and he guided them through a last revolution. Mars, as I now knew, glowed a faint red far above the ocean’s gentle waves. I meditated then. These experiences burn bright but are always impermanent. Their memories remain and offer light. Though this summer has passed, I’ll remember it with the reverence of an astronomer finding their star or planet. It’s thrilling to connect with something that humbles and excites you, even for a short time.