Defying Gravity

17 Jul

“Every man has to learn the points of compass again as often as he awakes, whether from sleep or any abstraction. Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.” –Thoreau

Almost done with Walden! I’m realizing how incredibly forward thinking Thoreau was for his time…when books such as Great Expectations were being published, he was thinking on a much higher plane. Much of what he writes resonates with those who could be associated with the current organic food movement, or the sustainability movement, or the vaguely defined ‘green movement.’ Perhaps others in his time period, in the 1800s, were like-minded and I just haven’t read their works, but he seems different. He’d read the Vedas, the works of Mencius, The Odyssey, The Bible, etc. – the breadth of his education is quite surprising. I’m also glad that I didn’t read this before coming to Moosehorn, as I now understand the inspiration behind his descriptions of lakes as “great crystals on the surface of the earth,” the eerie laughs of loons, and the clever camouflage of a ruffed grouse brood…

But back to present day Maine! We’re officially done with brood surveys, and as much as I enjoyed them, I must admit that I’m happy about not waking up at 3 AM every day. That was getting a bit rough, especially since we woke up for two days in a row at the beginning of the week, only to have it canceled due to adverse weather conditions. Brood surveys really made me feel independent though, and I think that it’s this activity that has pushed me the most. I elaborated on the first round of surveys in earlier posts, so I wont repeat, but this time around I had to navigate my way to a tree stand that I’d never even seen before, just by following flagging in the woods and a map. That was intense. Also, I’ve learned that I do indeed enjoy climbing trees! It’s done wonders for my fear of heights. I have officially climbed four trees here at Moosehorn, one that even my supervisor described as “technically difficult.” I also have a huge advantage because I’m really small, light, and flexible, unlike everyone else here. Finally an advantage!

I’ve hit the halfway mark in the internship, or perhaps over halfway, and I’m suddenly realizing that I’m finally living up to my own expectations. I keep up as well as anyone else when in the woods, I don’t particularly care if I hit my shin or whatever, I’ve learned how to outsmart the mosquitoes (or just deal with them…pesky buggers), and my knowledge of how nature works has exponentially expanded. I’ve still got a long way to go, as always in life, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished thus far. I just need to make sure that I keep my drive and desire to learn fully charged as I work through my last month at Moosehorn.

There’s so much to write about! It’s been a while since my last post, so bear with me, please. What I’ve really learned is that, as cliché as it sounds, I am my own worst critic. No one expected me to be perfect when I came, otherwise they probably wouldn’t have even hired me as my I have no background in this type of work. I took things too seriously, causing myself much stress and anxiety for those first two weeks. Of course, there were plenty of other factors to add to that feeling, but I realize that if I had laughed after a fall, or understood when something was too heavy for me, I wouldn’t have put so much pressure on myself to be the perfect intern. I needed to understand that I have an incredible amount of support here at the Refuge and that the only person I would have been disappointing was myself. This is pretty much the story of my life, as I’m extremely hard on myself, but this time the lesson will more permanently stick.

I’m also beginning to trust myself more, which I’ve learned while climbing trees. I have a propensity/ life motto to do the thing that I find most difficult because I believe that it builds character. Who can grow if they never push themselves? And while thus pushing, I learned that believing in your own capacity for success, whether in intellectual or physical pursuits, is 100% crucial to the outcome. I feel like I’ve learned that before, but I never actually remember that lesson (sound familiar?). When climbing a tree 60+ feet in the air, I needed to trust that I could indeed control my arms and legs, and that I wasn’t just going to randomly fall out of the tree. I was in control. It’s such a liberating feeling, and while I’m not going to pursue even greater heights, I’m beyond ecstatic that I was able to successfully push myself in such a manner. I mean, that’s why I came to Maine. I wanted to do something so out of my comfort zone that I could potentially come back after the summer knowing more about myself, Maine, USFWS, nature, and everything else possible. I just need to keep that goal in mind.

Things won’t always be easy from here to the end of the internship, but I think I’ve got the mentality to make it through.

1 Comment

Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Uncategorized


One response to “Defying Gravity

  1. Aunt Jerilyn

    July 17, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    As always, a great read! I am in awe of your courage and fortitude! But I didn’t get to see any whale pictures on my computer (sad face). Katie arrived home safely today from Ecuador – seems very exhausted and I think needs some time for serious reflection and de-programming, but home, just the same.

    I wish you continued success with your adventure. I hope we get to see you when you get home.

    Love you, Aunt Jerilyn


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