Following in Jack’s Footsteps

We lost track of Jack months ago.

We all thought that he’d gone through some kind of mid-life crisis, but it looks like that mid-life crisis might have turned into a full blown cry for help.

He’s the only Seabird to have really followed his passion and commitment for birds through with real, tangible action and now he’s…well, we don’t know where he is.

I knew Jack (know – he’s not gone yet). I’ve known Jack from before he took the job in the lab. I remember how excited he was when he got accepted for that position, he was thrilled to be working with birds and so ready to make a difference. That was before he found out what he would be testing and where they got the samples from.

We were barely given any notice before he left, we should be grateful I suppose, I doubt his  employers had a chance to even fill his position. Before we knew it he’d booked his flight and he was off, up in the air with the birds, searching for a creature which he hoped he hadn’t inadvertently driven from existence.

We were all jealous of course.

In the first few weeks, when news was scarce, we discussed amongst ourselves how much fun he must have been having out there in West Papua, on his search for Wilsons’ Bird-of-Paradise. We imagined ourselves out there, bargaining for rides on tuk-tuks, renting sleazy apartments and planning our excursions into the jungle. We wanted to join Jack, but our jobs and livelihoods held us in place, envying our team mate from afar.

The time drifted by. Without Jack to keep us together, the team fell apart. I spent my days listlessly spraying Japanese knotweed killer across my back garden. Isn’t it ironic how some lifeforms thrive despite constantly fighting against humanity, whereas others are snuffed out purely because of their beauty?

The knotweed had been a nagging problem at the back of my mind for some time.

I knew that the presence of such a plant would no doubt damage the chances I had for eventually selling up, but that day seemed so far off that it simply wasn’t worth worrying about. I’d left them untouched for years and in that time they’d happily spread throughout the entire back garden, their thick, bamboo-like stems making a jungle out of my once peaceful slice of suburbia.

I’d thought about contacting a knotweed specialist to address the problem but had settled on treating the issue myself. After all, I had a degree in Biology – that should be more than enough to deal with my little infestation. Except it wasn’t. The day that I lost the fight to the knotweed was the day that I booked my flight to West Papua.

My evenings spent fruitlessly hacking away at the knotweed had stuck with me. Each night I’d collapse exhausted in a heap, gasping for breath and thinking of Jack out there – alone. I was done with my job, I was done with knotweed.

The time had come to find my friend.

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