- May 30, 2017
- Posted by Caroline Geiger
At Pompey’s Pillar, my co-leader and I learned that sometimes situations can truly surprise you, in the best of ways.
We went into our very first hitch leading together expecting weather that would turn the entire hitch sour, and expecting the entire place to be a tick-infested nightmare. What we got was beautiful weather every single day, and not a tick to be found. We had a maintenance shop to cook in if we even so much as felt chilly, a bathroom, including a shower, and the luxury of only having to drive a couple miles to get to our work site. Everyone seemed to have good attitudes the whole week, and generally speaking, we were blessed.
As far as the work, it was saw work, so it was of course a blast. The first day we spent hiking around and looking at all of the Russian Olive trees with the project sponsor, who was pretty old school but also hilarious and definitely extremely knowledgeable. He pointed out what he wanted and Chris and I got a feel for what kind of questions are important to ask and how to successfully interact with a project sponsor. He showed us what he wanted, and told us funny stories about how the MCC crew who worked with him last season got lost on the island and he had to go searching for them, even though they were only a few hundred yards away.
The next few days we were pretty much on our own, so Chris and I got a chance to lead uninhibited, no FCs or any other members of staff there to get in the way of us making our own decisions. It was very liberating and an excellent time to practice getting a feel for our communication style and decision making process. In addition to our crew, we had the WRC folks with us to help us spray the stumps we were cutting, but they also could use chainsaws, so we all got a chance to either saw, swamp, or spray, which was a nice change of pace for most of us. We spent our days dealing with the puzzles of Russian Olive trees, trying our best to navigate through tension and compression and all sorts of binds, stumps that were covered in dirt, and where in the world we would pile all of the brush we had left over after hacking the trees to bits.
The only hiccup really with work on the hitch came during a day when the skies finally opened up and it rained. For an hour. The problem was that we couldn’t spray the stumps in the rain, because the chemical would just wash away. I decided to walk back to the trucks to call our project partner, and he told me to go ahead and call it a day, and to maybe go ahead and leave early because the forecast was calling for the same weather the following day. I did not want to accept that we wouldn’t be fulfilling our hours and going home early, so I decided to come up with a plan to work through the rain, which ended up being that we would make our brush piles smaller by stomping on them. I was happy that I came up with a solution that allowed us to still be productive and so was the project partner; he was impressed that we were determined to get work done.
We learned that you should absolutely plan for the worst, but to not accept that as inevitable, We learned that sometimes life surprises you, and that it’s important to embrace those surprises and take them as they are,
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