Friday, February 23

Painful Awakening

I awoke today stiff and aching. My back ached, my arms ached, even my hands ached. This is not that surprising since yesterday at least four hours of my day were spent shovel in hand, scooping and hoisting wood chips into the back of a pickup truck. With the other Billings MCC crew leaders, we drove to Red Lodge, Montana to volunteer at a Wildlife Nature Center. The center provides a loving and safe home for injured and displaced wild animals. The task that they had arranged for us was to move a mammoth size wood chip pile from the parking lot at the front entrance of the Nature Center to the barns at the back of the center. So, not only did we shovel wood chips onto the bed of the pickup, we had to then shovel, push, and pull them off of the pickup bed at the designated location. I think it took five loads to move the pile in it's entirety, and by the end I was really wishing for a hydraulic lift truck that could have aided in our endeavor. I have to admit, though, I felt quite satisfied as we unloaded the last truck load behind the feed barns. A job well done. One that I won't, or perhaps can't, forget, at least not for a few days until the pain subsides.

The animals that have found a home there at the Beartooth Mountain Nature Center were quite varied. A bobcat named Garfield, two coyotes that howled a good-bye for us, a bald eagle with neurological problems, a raven that sayed "mama", two spotted asses, a lonely bison, a large and somewhat friendly mountain lion, a variety of deer and elk, just to name a few. I admire the folks who run this nature center and care for these animals that otherwise would not survive. It really was a great way to spend a day, even if shoveling wood chips dominated the outlined tasks of the day.


Carol said...

Have you found out what your tasks will be with your student crews this summer?
At least you will be in shape for whatever they assign when the time comes!
You seem to gravitate toward painful experiences. It seems like you were preparing for a long painful journey about this time last year! Most of us avoid pain whenever possible!
You are something else, Girl!
Love to hear your stories!

Carol said...

Hey, Leslie, reading about your wood chip pile work reminded me of my dairy farming days. We often went to the saw mill and shoveled a truck bed full of clean saw dust and then back at the farm, after cleaning out the free stall barn, we shoveled the fresh wood stuff back into the stalls! Hey, we are one, Sister! The pain always goes away in a few days! Love, Dad

Kristi said...

And I thought my arms ached from suddenly lugging around a 22 lb baby all the time...

Neat opportunity to encounter some wild animals! I will have to say that I'm wondering about the "somewhat friendly" mountain lion...


Beka said...

is no one else wondering if the "two spotted asses" had names?

myself, that's all can think about!

do tell.

Leslie said...

I know they had names, Beka, but I can't recall what they were. And to be honest, I didn't see any spots back there.