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Winter Restoration Work

This time of year most people in our industry are looking to the coming season or plugging through busy work in preparation for spring. There are however a few rugged souls still out in this obnoxiously cold weather doing the good work. In all honesty, their determination detracts my focus from any task at hand, from busy work, from spring, even from family and friends. I’m instead forced to look inward. This has been my first winter spent indoors. I’m no longer the go-to winter field work guy. Given the laborious nature of our winter work, it has a way of separating the capable from the less capable. I’ve slowly become the latter.

The focus destroying, humor killing, nagging question is, how long can a person do this? The answer is different for everyone I’m sure, but as I age, it’s becoming more clear. It’s really cold today. I overslept. My hands hurt. Thankfully I don’t have much feeling left in my cheeks or my nose.

From a lawn chair in the snow, my opinion hasn’t changed. We do important work. Our impact is tangible, though our message is not but infinitely more important. I really like what I do. I love field work. I’m thankful for my colleagues, even those more physically capable than me! Time and injuries may be peeling layers of usefulness away one by one. But I’m still here and I’ll be a conservationist until my last. And I’ll always be capable, somehow, maybe even a little more field work.

Jesse Neihart
Two Oaks Office

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