There is something inexplicably delicious about the morning hours at Ocmulgee.
I am not a morning person: the first bear you’ll see around these parts is me before my coffee. But these quiet mornings I’ve spent on the front porch steps have set a joy in my heart that is hard to shake. The sun’s long rays reach through the giant pecan in our front yard, beckoning the dew to join it and become mist. The dew does, creating a fantastical crystalline effect in the air.
Past the front yard, the elevation drops, and the land is a jungle of brush and dew. Everything is greener in the mornings. I am sure there is some scientific explanation for the sun’s angle creating a refraction of light from the dew on the grass giving the illusion that its color is more vibrant than normal…but it is too early to think of such things. I prefer to think that these hazy green and gold mornings are designed to stir within those waking an insatiable energy to begin the day! Shake off the dew that has settled on your mind! Feast your eyes on the glowing beauty today holds!
These mornings are by no means silent: a symphony of voices meets my barely awake ears. These birds, from woodpeckers to warblers, cardinals to quail, tanagers to chats—and more that I have yet to acquire the skill to identify—raise their voices loud and unashamed, proclaiming that it is indeedmorning! The sun has risen again! A new day of adventure awaits!
Some days here have been busy: until yesterday we were averaging 6 or 7 hair snares a day. Yesterday we might have done three? Today: zero. Yesterday and today we spent most of the time on the computer, driving to and from Fort Valley, and getting nowhere fast.
Yesterday was a day of emails—all parties involved received and sent way too many emails for the amount of bandwidth available. Today we took one of the trucks in to get worked on, the breaks sounded like nails on a chalkboard and the summer has barely begun.
Then there were the talkers.
Around here there is a lot to say and a lot of time in which to say it. What I mean is…you know how people ‘round these parts talk…well…slow? When in doubt…pause…every pause adds drama…right? No one seems to have anywhere to be in any rush…no one picks up on clues that you’re not really looking to…you know…spend all afternoon listening to them tell one story…which reminds them of another…oh…and that one time…well I never heard the likes of that…except…I think there was that one story…wait…yeah…my friend…who you don’t know, but I’ve known for…my…near fourty years or so…well he’s got this story…you should hear him tell it…it goes something…like this…[20 minutes later]…but man I wish you’d’a heard him tell it…hold on maybe I could call him…well he’s not answering…anyways…I’ve known him forever…We used to get in all kind of trouble back when we were young…this one time…
There was a lot of that today.
And I learned how to plug a tire. And we still can’t figure out how in the WORLD to get to these two hair snare sites. There’s always tomorrow.
Unless…unless it ends up like today…did I tell you about those stories I heard today…well…look’a here…I tell you what…
I wrote yesterday that today was to be a day full of productivity. We were to put out hair snares, write routes, do things.
Today I didn’t see Josh till 12:30 pm; we didn’t leave my cabin till 3 pm. We’re sitting in Josh’s cabin right now looking at the interwebs, trying to make it go faster. Mike Hooker drove down today, unloaded a bunch of stuff, talked about some of the hair snares we can’t find, then left.
Sometimes it’s just a bunch of hurry up and wait—welcome to government work.
On the other hand, apparently graduation festivities are beginning in Athens. To those I know who are graduating: congratulations! You have fought hard and persevered to this point in your life, do not let the moments slip by you. Cherish these next few days, soak in all that you can, and always look toward the horizon for your next big adventure.
Today is another day of setting our own schedule. Sometimes things call us away from the typical day, and even the study site. Josh is in Athens today, taking care of business: I remain here, doing paperwork in preparation for the rest of the summer. Yet another leisurely day here in Middle Georgia—not that I’m complaining.
Despite the leisurely week, we’ve still accomplished a great deal of work, and we’re still ahead of where the project was this time last year. I completed the paperwork I planned on doing, and am now spending time plotting for future paperwork-filled days.
I’ve found a coffee shop in Warner Robins! For those of you who never go a day without your java, and those of you who have a penchant for local flavor, you’ll understand my joy! It’s a locally owned, fair-trade joint that does a lot of outreach with and for the community. It is about 30 minutes from my cabin, but this is a cool enough place–complete with wi-fi–that I might be willing to make the trek on a regular basis. I’m not quite one of those crazy only-buy-local-or-you’re-scum people, but when I find a local business that does good food, beverages, service, and is involved in the community, I’ll stick by it as much as I am able.
It is nice to have a local place where I am…as opposed to only knowing local places where I’ve been. It is beginning to feel like “home.” This is my home, for now. It is where I live, where I work, where I eat, shop, sleep, and play. If this is my home, I should be here, not continually running to a place that was home.
I’m not saying that Athens or Albany should prepare to never see me again. I’ll be back, you will always have pieces of my heart. But Twiggs, Bleckley, and Houston County have me now, and I must be loyal to my workplace and her town(s).
I was asked today what type of “woods-y life” I wanted. The answer I gave was “Ain’t that a question.” The way I see it, when you’re a few short hours from the places you’ve called home, you have several options:
1) Spend every spare moment (and cent) driving back, filling your hours off with action and emotion.
2) Never look back: throw yourself fully into your new city, forgetting people and places from before.
3) Something in the middle. Return to the places that have grown you, nourished you; never forget the ones you loved while you were there; but make a new, thorough commitment to the new place that claims you.
As per usual, I think I’m all about compromise, or option 3. To turn my back on the places and people who have been vital to my growth would be ungrateful. And a little foolish. Distance (no matter how small or large) is not a sign of an end, but merely an indicator of change. It does not necessitate a closure, but a choice. Will you abandon everything and everyone you’ve known? Will you “move on,” perpetually with your head turned ’round to the past? Will you take them with you in your heart, to cherish always, while also opening your heart to a new set of “everything and everyone?”
I hope you choose the third, if that choice is ever presented to you. Heck, I hope I choose it now too.
But what do I know about what I want? I’m only two weeks into this change. I don’t expect to have it figured out ’till…well…it’s over.