By Tom Hart
I love rocks, always have. I don’t know why. Some of my earliest memories are about looking at rocks on the farm where I grew up. My dad professed a similar fascination with clouds. I was looking down at the ground; he was looking up at the sky.
Maybe this started when my older brother got a cool mineral collection from school. Maybe it was because the farm where we grew up had lots of Native American relics. I found a clay gaming marble and several nice arrowheads in my youth. Maybe it was when I moved out west to Arizona and then California where beautiful rocks and crazy geology abound. I don’t know the source of my love of rocks, but it has persisted throughout my life, and continues today along with a general love of nature.
I have piles, buckets, and various containers full of rocks all over my house and yard. I took every Geology class at my local college. I have changed careers from a lucrative high tech path, to a poor man’s Natural Science path, in order to follow my passion! It gets to a point later in life where you realize that life is passing you by and you’d better find that one thing that keeps you going before it’s too late. I love and am good at technology, I am a computer programmer for web and mobile apps, but it is a very volatile industry when you are trying to support a family and a home. The stability of rocks seems more attractive.
The entry-level jobs related to Natural Science are low paying, but very satisfying if you love nature and the outdoors. They are physical jobs, not sitting in a chair so much but getting out there and doing. There is always a technical element as with almost every industry these days, and that adds to your pay grade, but it’s the outdoor part that attracts me. I want to be in nature, not in a stuffy room. I have a kinship to the woods, the beach, the ocean, rivers, streams, and mountains. These are the places where I feel most at home, aside from my house. This career path satisfies my technical and scientific needs as well as my artistic side.
I currently have 5 flexible part time jobs, as I am a full time student. One day I hope to get a single full time job in this field. Meanwhile, I will keep rockhounding, prospecting for gold and gems, and just generally getting out there and observing.