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April 2009 -Changing of the Seasons

Daylight saving is ending - for good in WA I wonder? Mornings are cooler and days shorter. Here in the West there are but a few autumnal displays of colour, but those there are, make a brilliant display. There can be no doubt Autumn is about.

Autumn is always a special time for me. It is time for us, and our environment, to recover from the stresses of summer and prepare for the rigours of Winter. It holds the promise of time to enjoy "comfort" food, to read more and to philosophise. Time to slow down. To hibernate? Ahhhhhhhhh!

As you read this, many will be heading for Darwin and the challenges of the ASM. My plan was to have a relaxed, contemplative meeting but needless to say plans have wills of their own, at least mine do! It is important, though that we do take the time to slow down after the meeting and ponder what was absorbed. Rushing headlong into activity on returning to your lab often leads to wasted effort. We need to develop a timeline and a structured approach to developing the ideas whose kernels were sprouted during the meeting. It is not a case of dampening enthusiasm, but rather of harnessing the energy.

It is also important to take the time to build on relationships within your lab, and between labs, so that there is a fertile environment for research over the next year. Relationships struck at the meeting need to be nurtured so ideas can be bounced off others, so cooperative projects can be developed, so difficulties can be shared and resolved with the help of some mentoring. The environment of the ASM may be a little on the chaotic side, but it is indeed a fertile broth.

The preparation done during autumn will lead to a productive winter, a season suited to the hard slog of collecting data and dealing with the more routine parts of research.

Nature has much to offer us in terms of managing our lives and we need to draw from her example. After all, she has been managing life and death for a lot longer than any of us have.

Enjoy the ASM and I look forward to having opportunities to talk with many of you while in the Top End.

'til next month

K

April, 2009

kevin.gain@health.wa.gov.au

 

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