I’ve been making lists for months now, and even though my summer hike is getting closer and many things have been crossed off, more are added.
It’s been a while since I’ve planned for a multi-month adventure, especially one with such a different climate. Hot, humid and rainy…that’s about as different as it gets to the Oregon desert. There are lists of gear to dos, work to dos, home to dos, to do to dos…
And in my final few weeks before I fly out there are work trips….so many work trips.
I am days away from departure and the to dos haunt me when I try and concentrate on other things, but this last work trip has been a good lesson in “be here now.”
I am out working with our Tribal Stewards crew, a group of 8 young adults from different tribal nations around the country. The Steward program started in 2019 (a partnership between ONDA and Northwest Youth Corps) and is designed to engage tribal members in learning about careers in conservation, stewardship and public lands management while working on restoration projects across Oregon.
This week we are repairing Beaver dam analogs…weaving branches of lodgepole and ponderosa pine in between posts that had been sunk in the creek bed….an effort to mimic the water retaining magic of a beaver dam in these desert creeks…in hopes of enticing Oregon’s state animal to move back into the area (most were trapped out of existence during the fur hat craze of the late 1800s.)
After work we go swimming in a high lake deep within the forest, finally cooling off from the 90 degree day.
And as the morning breaks on the calm surface of Magone Lake and the birds flit about looking for breakfast, I am here. Now.
The lists will be there when I get back, the things will get done, and for a day or so I am able to focus on what is important…these people and this work.