By Michael W. Miller, DVM
I had an 11 hour drive to get to Uncharted GSD, and I was excited about it. Some people would think that seems like a strange thing to look forward to, but that peaceful ride was supposed to allow me to get my mind ready for the conference… oh, and allow me to practice my “Mic Drop” over and over as well. (On the way, I discovered that talking to the other cars on the road is a bit less emotionally charged than presenting to a room full of my Uncharted friends and idols, but that’s a story for another time.)
Anyway, I had another reason I was looking forward to the drive. In the past I had traveled this route several times, but never during the fall. I had imagined how the mountain terrain would look when the trees changed colors. I love autumn, and now I was finally going to get to see the Appalachian Mountain version!
However, Mother Nature didn’t cooperate. The mountains were their normal, green selves that I had always seen before. A few trees were starting to change, but that’s not what I was hoping to see. I was disappointed.
Fast forward 4 days.
As I headed back north, I noticed much more color. The mountain sides were spotted – still with a lot of green – but now with reds and yellows creating a stunning view through my windshield.
I thought maybe I was just more impressed now because I’m still riding an “Uncharted high” and looking at everything through rose-tinted glasses. Yeah, that must be it. Nothing could change that much in only 4 days, right?
But I think these conferences are the evidence that just 4 days CAN completely change everything. It did for me—all three times so far.
I always leave Greenville feeling different than when I showed up, for the better. No, that’s not right… for the way, way, way better!
There’s just something special—something magical—that happens here. You find that there was a reason you are here that you don’t even realize. You discover an opportunity to improve your practice or yourself that you didn’t know was necessary, or even possible. The exchange of ideas and sparks of inspiration are happening throughout the conference, from the keynote speeches to the workshops to the late night talks in the hotel lobby.
You were a normal tree with green leaves when you arrived, but now you’re leaving as a tree with breathtakingly colorful leaves. You have changed. In only 4 days. Yes, that really happened.
And now for the part that all of the previous attendees have experienced before, and the newbies will be suffering for the first time: The Uncharted Hangover. Those beautifully colored leaves are going to get rained on, blown around by the wind, and fall off. The glowing happiness you felt as you left the conference will dim.
But guess what? You now have a whole mountainside of fellow trees, who may be different than you, but are still standing tall alongside you, to help you through the winter. Use them. You need them, and they need you, too.
We will all get out the other side and be bigger and better when those leaves come back. And, if you’re lucky enough to be a flowering tree, you get to go through another quick but strikingly beautiful transformation in the spring when your flowers bloom over another 4 days in Greenville at the next Uncharted Veterinary Conference. It will be different, but just as powerfully awe-inspiring as the colorful changing leaves.
So, yes, it is true. You aren’t just imagining it. A lot can change in 4 days.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Unchartedvet.com editorial team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Michael W. Miller, DVM is a part-owner of a four hospital practice and splits time between Lakewood Animal Hospital and Pine Bluff Animal Hospital in Morris, Illinois. He has a special interest in exotic animal medicine – especially reptiles, but he also enjoys working on dogs and cats including his mischievous shelter mutt named Wombat.