Hitch 5 Report

The nearing-end of the summer finds us somewhat in a surprised stupor, perspiring in every possible bodily nook and hunched over, gripping at our connect-a-desk computer holsters like soon-to-be mothers, jaws agape. It’s already week 9!!

It’s mid- August in Tennessee. The days pass by, mostly pleasant, and we are only slightly encumbered by abrupt climatic shifts: from dense and melodic downpours, to heavy sun and mashed-potato-thick humidity, to a finally tolerable high of 80 that carries a hint of cool in the air. Team Monster Nash has settled comfortably into the mechanical routines of waking up, downing gallons of coffee, setting up surveys, and rattling off questions with machine-like efficiency to lines of antsy park visitors. Alongside the work routine, there has been plentiful exploration of Nashville’s delicious food, enjoyment of the amazing variety of music, and beautiful natural areas. All of this alongside our own cooking, grilling, togetherness, poking fun at on another, pranking, lamenting spells of restlessness, and Olympic-watching marathons.

The closing weeks also finds many of us figuring out our arrangements post-Nashville. Teammate Tyler Frisbee successfully landed a full-time “big-boy” job in Cincinnati as a sales account Executive and Lindsey Mcknight has had several promising interviews in the Nashville area. Samwise Cox and Erica Munchy-Mutschler will be heading to the Mojave Desert to learn survival skills, camp, and restore ATV-ravaged natural areas very soon after we finish with the Desert Corps Restoration crews of SCA. I myself will be going to rural Massachusetts for a 10-month education and trails internship, also with the SCA.

Starting out, it didn’t seem like this position was directly related to any of our career goals or was even a first choice for any of us. We all have had minor woes about it and definitely couldn’t do it forever. We have days that drag, days when visitors complain relentlessly complain about having done the survey at LEAST 60 DANG TIMES ALREADY! Days when the mosquitoes bite an elaborate mosaic into one’s forearm, or the vehicle lines seem to back up into oblivion and one can perceive a dark and unpleasant scowl on every driver’s face.

But for every one of those days, there is a visitor with a big smile, grateful, jovial, joking and willing to do the survey 30 times or more. Or there is a mother with an elated child next to her, chiming in with amusing details (“WE CAUGHT A BOAT TODAY! I MEAN, FISH!”) There are very friendly panting dogs hanging out the windows of exiting cars, kind and joking Army Corps Rangers offering us water, and lengthy lunch breaks spent swimming and floating in quiet, beautiful lakes.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I have really enjoyed this position for many reasons. At least to have explored a new and beautiful place, to be launched into another internship, and have been part of a pseudo-family with some very awesome people for a little while has been a bonus.

Written by Brenna Taylor