Hitch 7 is tough. Us corps members are tired out from a long few months of trail work. The heat and humidity at the end of July is oppressive. Bugs are stinging, ticks are embedding, poison ivy is thriving. We can’t help but think about the future; it’s tough to remain present. We are coming to terms with the fact that our program is ending sooner than we’d all like to admit. Change is imminent, impending, impossible to forget about… and yet, integral. We define our world by the passing of time, and change, though daunting at times, is not a bad thing.
We spent nine days working at Middlesex Fells Virginia Woods, a park maintained by DCR in the greater Boston area. Our contact, Marc, made frequent visits to our project site for various reasons: poison ivy removal, delivering a power tool, checking on our progress, etc. He had a lot to share about the Fells and its interesting history, like the fact that the entirety of Virginia Woods used to be a rubber factory, clearcut and completely developed. One would’ve never guessed, with the sound of the brook running under the historic bridge, the songbirds chirping, and the serenity one felt immediately upon walking into the tunnel of tall trees lining the trail away from the streets into the forest. People come to this public land to escape the rush of city life in the greater Boston area. And they notice changes made to their park.
As we set new native timber posts into the ground, replacing old chemically-treated salvaged telephone poles, we recognized many people (and pups!) throughout the week. They could tell things were changing, and most seemed happy with the changes we were making. “It looks a lot better!” “I’ve been hoping they’d fix up this bridge,” “Thanks for your work!” Working at Virginia Woods, we were reminded why we do this kind of work. We want to make positive change by working together to conserve public land and beautiful, natural, historically significant places in our community.
We’ve all made goals to finish out conservation season strong, physically and mentally. It’s impossible to deny that we’ve all changed in so many ways throughout the past few months. I’d like to say we’ve all changed for the better, in constructive ways that foster love for the environment, community, and friendship. Maybe we’re not feeling this way right now, because it’s tough to say goodbye, it’s sad sometimes to see things change, but I know we will embrace the changes ahead of us.