Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Days One and Two

I finally made it down to Ocmulgee WMA last night around 8:30pm.  So far, the place is pretty neat.  It’s rustic, but no more rustic than an old farmhouse, with working kitchen appliances, working A/C, no internet, and a pretty porch I can’t wait to use once May 15th comes around (end of turkey season). 

It’s going to get pretty cozy once Mike comes down: I hope he’s ready to live with two women…God help him.  Casey and I hit it off; you have to be pretty low maintenance to thrive in a living situation like this, so I think we’ll all be okay.  I was given some keys to an F-250 UGA truck (2WD), to the check station, and to the Oaky Woods WMA check station.  Eventually I’ll get keys to the various WMA and other property gates.  Right now there are a handful of camouflaged dudes chillin’ in my front yard, and I’m just new enough that I’m not sure I want to hang out on the front porch while drinking my coffee.  Maybe once I get a feel for the place, I’ll be able to sit there like I own it.  Right now, I’m more clueless than they appear to be, wandering around on their phones.
Josh, my direct supervisor, is going to show up eventually and then the fun begins!  I’m working with him on hair snares, which involves scent tablets (imagine concentrated fruit smell), corn, and barbed wire.  He said last night, “You know that feeling you get when you’re lost?  We’re just gonna do that for a couple weeks and then all the hard stuff will be done J.“  Strangely, that excites me.  Guess that means I’m in the right field, huh?
For the time being, I’m enjoying my coffee at our large bar counter in the kitchen, writing this, looking at a topographical/road map of the area, and taking a break from reading the book of Esther.  It’s more “calm before the storm,” but it’s much more peaceful than yesterday or the day before.  I’m looking forward to getting rolling.
Josh and I definitely took the scenic routes today.  We never got lost…I heard from a pretty cool guy once that “you’re never lost until you don’t get to where you’re going.”  We got where we were trying to go, we just spent a lot of time spinning, fishtailing, and cursing at the 4WD DNR truck to keep us on the “road.” 
We were just looking for hair snares from last summer, praying they were still set up and intact.  Only one of the ten (or so) we checked today had a tree fallen in it, so that was pretty solid.  Tomorrow I’ll drive over to Oaky Woods WMA (on the West side of the Ocmulgee River) to meet Josh for hair snare construction and reconstruction.  Today we were mostly on public land, but tomorrow we’ll be on private land: Josh is doing telephone recon tonight to ensure we don’t get shot upon our arrival. 
Things I learned today for me to do tomorrow:  Snacks. Even just driving around in a truck can make you hungry.  Tissues.  I’m beyond ready for this 3 week no voice-allergy-sickness-thing to be over.  Camera.  Just in case I need to capture something cool.  Or hilarious.  Post-work game plan.  It’s 5pm and I’m bored already.  Tomorrow I’m going to have a plan of attack.  Bug spray.  The mosquitoes are insane.  Big. Lots. Insistent.
All in all, today was a pretty successful day.  I’m still excited about working with/for Josh, and I’m glad he’s not just throwing me into the woods to figure it out on my own. 

Last night was a little rough.  I wrote alot, but it was stream of consciousness and not particularly conducive to sharing with the entire internet.  If you really want to read my broken ramblings, we can personally arrange that.
It just was day one, after a big "day zero," and a big "day negative one" (i.e. the day before I left).  It was a lot of newness thrown at me all at once, and it was just tough for about an hour.
Today I awoke renewed after a solid night's sleep.  It was foggy and mysterious outside, but I knew the sun would break through.

I was right!  We set up 7-10 hair snares today: lots of barbed wire, hammers, nails, greenbriar, and blackberries.  It was pretty thankless work, but we're ahead of schedule, so Josh is pretty happy in spite of spending all day wrangling wire. AND we saw a bear track today!

Not much else to report, I'm in a Chic-fil-a in Bonaire getting wifi and doing recon on my area.  I still couldn't tell you where I live, exactly, but I know what roads not to take if you don't have 4-wheel drive!  I want to find a post office, maybe a martial arts studio, a healthcare facility, and all the things necessary to survive in a new town.
Wish me luck!

Summer has BEGUN

I want to try to write more often...particularly now that I have an "interesting" job.
This is the second best way to keep in contact with me over the summer...the best way being to call me (Comment if you don't have my number and can't find it on Facebook).
We have iphones set up for hot spots, but those are only good for very slow email checking, plus I'm currently alone in the check station, and I don't have a space phone.
All that being said, future posts could be back-dated, but since I don't have internet, I'll just have to publish when I can.  This is where I'll share my good days and bad days, the interesting things and the mundane things...but I'll try to keep it brief.
Much love to my readers.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Lull

It's the calm before the storm today.
Well, except for the actual rain.  And the soon-to-be-crazy annual UGA Wildlife Society Wildlife Supper.
But for me, for my internal weather, it's the calm before the storm.  Or it should be.

Tomorrow my world flips.
Tomorrow I leave Athens, maybe for the summer, maybe for good.
Tomorrow I drive down dirt roads to my new home.
Tomorrow I say goodbye to my first adult home, my first adult friends, my circles, my crew.
Tomorrow I pack Yertle the Yaris for the great green yonder.
Tomorrow, you may call me Goldilocks, for I'll be chasing the bear that is just right.

I titled this "The Lull," because like a storm, everything on the ground is still, silent, waiting.
The sky is not still, silent, or waiting. It's brewing, moving, swirling, plotting, gathering.  This is my heart, my mind, today.  If you see me, you'll probably see a cool, collected person.  If you read this, you'll know better.
There have been so many typos within these few words because my fingers refuse to cooperate with the keyboard.
The sky in my heart is rolling with brilliantly purple clouds.  There is beauty there, ominous adventure in the thunder, adrenaline shocks in the lightning, worry in the thickness of the clouds.
My heart, my hands, my mind aren't quite steady.  My eyes, my face, my words are practicing diligently on being even keel and smooth.  (I'm not sure it's working)

My thoughts race with things about which I'm futilely trying to avoid thinking.
I'm not ready to leave my Athens family.
I'm not ready to cut short new friendships.
I'm not ready to leave the precious people at my church.
I'm not ready to quit my m.a. training.
I'm not ready to be without the habits I've formed since December.
It doesn't matter whether I think I'm ready or not, I'm going tomorrow.
I am the luckiest girl in Georgia to have gotten this job, and I'm going tomorrow.
I believe in divine timing: I do.  I have to, I wouldn't have a hope in the world if I didn't.  And my divine timing is tomorrow.

It might seem like the lull, the calm, quiet moment before the purple clouds drop onto the earth, but I know better.  I'm in those broiling clouds.  I am the lightning and the thunder, the purple and blue.
Every ground needs rain.  And tomorrow, it's raining.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Another Day, another whirlwind

It's been a while since I've put the proverbial pen to paper...or the literal fingers to keyboard.
Writing has been heavy on my mind recently: from the thought of summer letters to the drive for a publication to the hope for a creative writing chance.  In spite of all that, this is the first time in months I've sat down to write...just to write.
Funny how certain days bring with them certain moods or desires.  For example, Christmas Eve brings with its quiet evening service tears...thanks to the hymn Silent Night.  Omi and I sing it in German, and tears fill our eyes: maybe it's just a quiet moment we share, maybe it's a recognition of the preparation for the Lenten season, maybe it's just a series of chords that bring forth emotion.  January second brings with it the dark moods: too many sorrowful moments to explain here, but if you ever see me on that day, just get ready.  July fourth holds for me a heartbreakingly romantic mood--please don't ask me to explain, it's just as confusing to me--a desire for sharing a blanket on a lawn, avoiding mosquitoes and watching the annual fireworks show.  Yup, don't judge.
Today holds hope for me: a hope of a "normal," quiet day, filled with the love of dear friends and family.  Facebook usually does a noble job of attempting to upset that, but I'm staunchly in my quiet birthday corner. It means more to have a calm moment, a sweet card, some cupcakes, a small dinner at my favorite haunt, one-on-one time with my loved ones, than to have a raging, drunk, Athens-style birthday celebration.
Your well-wishings and birthday tidings are part of that.  In fact, they probably mean more than the actual birthday--really, it's just another day.
Come to think of it, you are more important to me than I am on a day like today.

*disclaimer: it's about to get sappy*

Without you, parents, I wouldn't be here.  So, thanks for LIFE.  I don't think you can thank any human for anything bigger than that.
Without you, brother, I wouldn't be as tough as I am (don't laugh, I am a little tough).  I wouldn't be able to withstand others' bad moods, their breakdowns, their criticisms, all while keeping a strong smile.  This paints our relationship in a pretty dismal light, but you know that's not how it is.  You and I have been relying on each other through thick and thin for a long time, through happy and sad, through fights and heart-to-hearts.  Our relationship has prepared me for so much, so, thank you.
Without you, grandparents--Omi, you just have to take this for the rest of them--I wouldn't have the hope for the human race that I have.  Sitting at your feet, listening to stories of war time and peace time, of family, of hardships, of love...you molded me into the hopeful romantic that I am.  You're who I strive to emulate with grace, strength, humor, drive, compassion, logic, tact, stubbornness, and love.
Without you, family, I wouldn't have the Ashley pride and the Holt love that I have.  There are no families that I'd rather be a part of than these two.  Simply put, you're the best.
Without you, friends, I wouldn't have lived.  Yes, my parents gave me life, gave me love and faith and hope and strength, but you put it to use.  You showed me what unconditional love looks like: guys, we've made it through a lot.  You showed me what laughter, tears, fights, broken hearts, new experiences, old habits, new habits, and change really mean.  You gave me the opportunity to have strength, vulnerability, grace, tough love, patience, mercy, hope, fear, self control, and perseverance.  Without you, I might still be alive, but I definitely wouldn't be living.
You are who I think about today, with your smiles, your hugs, your kind words and your love.  Don't try to make it about me, because it's really not.
All my love,
Annaliese <3