Sometimes you meet folks and you can’t stop talking. I arrived at Frank’s after six. We chatted about our times in Haiti, his world travels and work as an environmental monitor for NEON (National Environmental Observation Network, which will collect environmental data at dozens of locations throughout the US for the next thirty years). Kerry came home from teaching yoga about eight. She was a Bikram devotee for a time, and now teaches yoga to Parkinson’s patients as well as other non-traditional groups. Midnight seemed to strike only a few moments later. The next morning, Kerry stood in her running clothes, Frank in his work gear and me with my helmet on, still talking, as we needed to part. Franks’ last words, ”I wish we had more time for more stories.”
Kerry and Frank live in Manhattan because it’s Frank’s first NEON assignment at the Konza Prairie Biological Research Station. They are hoping he will be transferred further west, to a place closer to mountains with a more varied yoga community. In the meantime, they travel most weekends to Colorado or Arkansas to kayak or hike. “We’ve kayaked the entire Kansas River, but its illegal to go in the tributaries. Kansas is all about private property. Federal law requires that all commercial waterways be open to the public. Kansas defines that as any river that was used for commerce when the state entered the Union. Every other river is completely private. Some owners string electric fences across the water to deter canoes.”
Kerry is unusual among athletes I’ve met in that she combines yoga, which promotes flexibility, with running, which tends to make people tight. She admits to being inflexible compared to most yoga teachers. “Yoga is the medium I use to avoid injury. Running is my meditation. I wish I could do yoga in a dark room where no one could see me. Once the ego gets involved, it isn’t yoga.”
Frank’s an adventure traveler who likes to go to uncharted places with few plans beforehand. Kerry’s much more cautious, but reminds him, “I have these fears, but look at what you’ve gotten me to do.” The couple is planning a three-week trip to Patagonia in December. Frank is still working on getting Kerry to Haiti.
How will we live tomorrow?
“We need a spectrum of solutions and adaptation. My goal is to buffer our capacity to deal with change. I think millennials are more environmentally conscious. I embrace the idea that we are moving to the singularity. But you can’t get to the singularity without the environment. Having natural resources is an important hedge.” – Frank
“Science will prevail. I think it will fix global warming and rising tides. I’m optimistic about what science can do. I don’t worry about the Republicans coming around. They did with CFC’s; they will with global warming. GMO’s will prevail. There is no scientific evidence they are not safe. I think we’re going to need more energy, but it will be renewable. I think CRSPR is going to help the world. Medicine will get better. A lot of people will have to scale back our lives so others don’t live underwater. The best thing that will happen to people is that we use every last drop of fossil energy. Then we’ll get creative.
“I’m into Star Trek. Gene Rodenberry is always right.” – Kerry