Thursday, April 22, 2010

Love Your Mother.

From time to time at work, they organize events where we can volunteer to work to benefit organizations in the Austin community. It's been a whle since I've signed up for one of these events, but today, I went full-tilt, volunteering for a wetlands preserve clean up and beautification project for the afternoon in honor of Earth Day.

A group of like-minded helpsters descended upon the work site at about 1pm.

We had an orientation about the site, what we were trying to achieve, and how to spot the (unfortunately very common area nuisance) poison ivy.

And then we chose which group we wanted to work with: trash pick up, invasive tree removal, wildflower seed dispersal, trail maintenance (a.k.a., mulch spreading), and bamboo removal. I chose my group based on the tools you'd get to use--a big-ass cut lopper--and therefore ended up with the bamboo removal crew.

We wandered down a trail until we came to an area that really needed our help--a curve in the main trail that was being all but suffocated my bamboo and "wild cane" (whatever the hell that is). So we were told to clear it and pile up what we cut out on along the side of the trail.

We went NUTS. At first I was working closely with the others (and, as a result, received an accidental "caning" on my arm that is still very swollen and bruising up nicely). But eventually, I found a spot I claimed as my own, deciding that its clearing of bamboo, wild cane and random deadfall branches and crap would be my personal Earth Day mission. I started working at around 1:30. I didn't take a break until close to 3:00pm.

It was cloudy (HUMID!) and totally gloomy the entire time we were working. But it was an amazing feeling to see the areas we were working in become so much brighter as we removed the tall, leafy bamboo and let the sunlight come in and hit the trail floor.

At about 3:45, TOTALLY sweat-soaked and worn out, I looked around at my little self-proclaimed Earth Day mission area and declared it cleared. I stumbled back to the car, drove my stinky butt home in the rain (yep, it finally started raining), took a long, hot shower, and grabbed a quick cat nap before it was Geedles time.

I know I am going to be SO sore tomorrow. My upper body, especially. But I will do something like this again next Earth Day, and hopefully, between now and then as well. I want to involve The Geedles in helping out with something like this so that she gets how important volunteerism is along with how important it is to take care of the beautiful world around us.

Happy Earth Day, everyone. This is, indeed, my favorite planet in our solar system--by far!

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