Friday, May 2, 2014

A Day in the Life

At some point today between pulling muddy sticks out of a beaver dam, talking about the future of environmental education and digging a treasure out of the trash, I realized how lucky I am that my day-to-day life is anything but day-to-day. To get a clear picture of exactly what it is I do… may be impossible. I don’t really know what I do. I can give you a clear picture of what I have been doing, however. Let’s look at my last 24 hours.
Zoom into lunch time. I’m at “the office” a beautiful old style house that was previously use commercially that is currently being renovated into a bunk house for staff and trekkers. Piles of history surround me, and everything is covered in a very fine dust- the impenetrable “southwest seasoning” that blows in through any crack, hole or opening during our fierce spring winds. I’m working on a power point presentation for a school I’m leading next week- a Montessori school, whose 5th graders I’ll be taking on an overnight trip to the culturally unique Chaco Canyon, and the otherwise unique Ah-shi-sle-pah. I’ve just put in a food order with Sysco, and I’m about to hop in a car and drive to do my presentation.
1.5 hours later: Presentation done, I make my way to Home Depot, thanks to my, mostly trusty, very dusty GPS. The people here are friendlier and generally more helpful than the variety of people I’ve encountered in my 6 visits last week (but alas, a return trip is still required). I don’t have enough time to justify a trip back north to the office, so I meander to a local library, stumbling upon the coolest one I’ve ever found.
Cue “down time”. I find book after book of interesting natural history, weather-related guides and general New Mexico history. I want them all but I try to be reasonable. I take 3: Ocean of Air, Wild Guide: New Mexico’s Passport to the Great Outdoors and The Tree Rings’ Tale, plus a staff pick cd by Jack White, which I immediately pop into the Cd player.
Next I find myself sitting at a coffee, nervously checking my phone. I hope I’m at the right coffee shop and am wishing I’d written down her number like I told myself to do three times. After about the 4th time check, the woman next to me peeps, “Are you Cass?”.  Figures. We chat about the Weather of New Mexico slide show she graciously put together for an event we’re hosting, and then she listens to me ramble about future hopes and dreams, giving me some steady guidance.
Next stop- Kelly’s Restaurant…a spot I haven’t been since I was 18 and flew into ABQ before driving to Santa Fe to look at a college. Looks exactly the same, but the scenery is nicer than I remembered. A talkative and inspiringly over-ambitious teacher wanted to take me out to dinner to discuss her upcoming field trip (which I was just reminded that morning, is tomorrow). I gorge on Sweet Potato fries and a veggie burger that DOES have cheese in it despite what the waitress said, then head back home, to set up for said field trip. Right after the teacher leaves I make a discovery about a conflicting event happening the same time and place as the field trip. Only I know of the confliction, and it’s creeping on 10:00pm. What do I do…?

I decide to sleep on it, check the weather in the morning and move the field trip outside to make use of the patio. But I can’t sleep- because I drank a delicious “Fire and Ice” coffee drink at local Satellite Coffee earlier in the day, and caffeine hits me hard. So I crack open The Tree Rings’ Tales and settle into a story about the history of New Mexico…
I wake up before my alarm- 5:58, to the birds chirping outside, and my stomach telling me something about all those sweet potato fries. After a 50 minute power-session of Insanity: the Asulym, I get my game face on for a day of who knows what. I open the gates, raise the flags, clean the bathrooms, straighten out the building, move all the tables and chairs we had set up the night before to the patio, and spend about 20 minutes looking for a tiny piece of technology that I’m responsible for misplacing. Doh.
The field trip is late, so I turn my attention to a beaver dam I spotted. Since being cleared out on Sunday, this guy did quite a bit of work. I’m impressed, and sad to destroy it, but irrigation ditches are no place for Beaver Dams. With mud on my hands, and my pants, and my shirt, and my arms, my phone rings- it’s the teacher saying their buses are late. As I make my way to wash my hands I run into the Exec. Director of one of the organizations I contract with. We chat, I see school buses- the next few hours are a blur of herding 90 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders in the form of a train to various spots on our property. I forgot to mention how much I love that school buses drop kids off outside my bedroom window. I try to explain water chemistry in a way they understand, but end up talking too much and all they want to do is dip a cup in water or shake a bag.

As they load up, I clean the building and the places they went. I find two jackets, a bag of carrots and a ball. I peek into the almost-full trash can and start to pull out plastic water bottles that can be recycled. One of them is full- good job, Kid. One of them is buried in a paper bag. I unbury it, and discover half of a cosmic brownie. With little hesitation, I grab it, inspect it for weird fingerprints or grossness of any kind, then eat, it, savoring in each bite the taste of sweet childhood. Next thing I know, I’m on a bike with my home depot purchases in my backpack headed back to the office for the next big adventure.