CHAPTER 12: Epilogue

What makes us do the things we do? To a certain extent, our skills and experience are essential in directing us down certain routes. Our expertise may be equally fundamental. And yes, these things can be graded and assessed. Your skills can be tested. You may climb the ladder with more experience. Your expertise may even manifest in your name. A 'Mr' might turn into 'Dr' or perhaps, even 'Professor'. But I would argue that there's still a lot that drives us which cannot be quantified, or graded, or assessed. How much passion have you got? How might we answer such a question, when passion cannot be containerised? Much of what drives us through life, over hurdles and around problems is the passion we have.

Why did I stand outside in the pouring rain and insist upon fencing my site? What got me through eight days of extremely painful digging? Why did I arrive at my site at 4:30am to start collecting data? Why did I measure over 700 potatoes in three different ways? Why did I spend endless nights intricately checking every word in the final report?
Because it's my passion. My passion to learn more about the world in which we live. My passion to understand how the earth under our feet, the fabric of our buildings, the source of hope for all of our food, behaves in the way it does. My passion to go to bed in the evening that little more wise about the planet I'm proud to call home. For me, the greatest discoveries of all are neither the unmapped wilderness nor the depths of space, as interesting as they may be. For me, it's amazing to explore something which is all around us.

We will never understand everything there is to know about soil. And throughout my life, my contribution to soil science will be but a small clod in what is, after all, a pretty large field of knowledge already. But acquiring knowledge about the planet we were born on is part of what gives our lives meaning. It's how the human race has evolved.

The dissertation brought me closer to both the county and the village I love to call home. It's inspiring to know that after 22 years, the bond between the countryside and myself is greater than ever before. I've made new contacts and new friends and most of all, by working hours after hours with them, the project's brought my family and I closer than ever.

I will continue to visit the site. I am intrigued as to what awaits its long and interesting history. But most of all, as I saunter up the path, and stand by it, I will recall what has now become a segment of my own history.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my dissertation diaries. If you have any questions, be they academic or non-academic, do not hesitate to email at the usual address:

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed reading about this, Dan. Thank you for sharing it!