Doing the things that are most difficult builds character

We’re officially done with brood surveys. 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. This activity has pushed me the most. I elaborated on the first round of surveys in earlier posts, so I won’t repeat it. This time, 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.

I’ve also 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 - even one 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 more than halfway - and I’m suddenly realizing that I’m 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 have 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.

I’m also beginning to trust myself more, which I’ve learned while climbing trees. I have a propensity, or a 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 I’ve learned this before but never actually remember the lesson. Sound familiar?

When climbing a tree 60+ feet in the air, I need to trust that I can indeed control my arms and legs, and that I am not just going to randomly fall out of the tree. I am in control. It’s such a liberating feeling. While I’m not going to pursue even greater heights, I’m beyond ecstatic that I am 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 would come back after the summer knowing more about myself, about Maine, about the US Fish and Wildlife Service, about nature, and about everything else possible. I think that’ s just what I’ve done!