- May 11, 2019
- Posted by Hannah Hartman
My first morning waking up at our campsite, I was shocked at the number of different voices joyfully chirping hello to one another in the trees. I heard so many beautiful bird calls and kept thinking, “I need to ask my friend if she knows what those are.” I enjoyed listening to them so much that I didn’t even mind that they had woken me up an hour before my alarm. I was then surprised all over again as I walked up to the breakfast table at 6:45 AM to my coworkers doing just the same— chirping joyful hellos to me on this brisk spring morning. The positive attitudes and welcoming environment created by my crew of YCLs has been so special for me. We have spent so much time together since April 22nd, and it’s a wonder that we haven’t gotten sick of each other yet. That being said, it’s wonderful to know that even 1800 miles from home, I have a group of supportive friends who are excited to be here and to know me. When your office is the place so many people dream of being every day, how could you not be excited to wake up and go to work in the morning?
From how a ponderosa pine smells to the three different calls of a meadowlark, I’ve learned so much over the last week. I’ve learned about technical tool skills, ergonomics, and how to drive a rig with a trailer in tow (compared to my sedan at home, it was quite a bit different). I’ve learned how to better get in touch with my surroundings and how to share meaningful stories with others. Most importantly, I’ve learned new ways of experiencing the natural world in which I live with new friends.
Being awoken by a chorus of birds, wearing four layers to bed and still waking up a few times throughout the night shivering, cooking in an open field, spending five days outdoors with a group of people I hardly know—these are all things I haven’t done in many years and have never had the privilege to do in this capacity. Our week spent in Shepherd Ah-Nei Recreation Area was one of learning, exploration, and growth for me. New adventures wait after every sunset and open their eyes with each sunrise, welcomed by a chorus of birds singing together. I can’t wait to wake up each morning over the summer to my own crew, say good morning, and start a long, beautiful, and meaningful day of work.
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” - Joan Walsh Anglund
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