Mud Pies

I haven’t written in a while because there hasn’t been much to write about. I spend most of my day in the office, working on programs, preparing for certain displays in the visitor’s center, or doing other desk work tasks. I have learned being in an office all day is not my forte. A lot of the visitor’s services part of the job has dwindled down because the trails are being redone here and are therefore closed. I have to admit, when I began my job, though I enjoyed working with the school groups, I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get more chances to go outside, but now I feel very differently. Since I have had a dry spell of visitor’s service duties, the other day, when I had a parks and recreation group come, I soaked it all in.
Someone before I even got to Rydell had apparently made an appointment far in advanced to have a parks and recreation group come to Rydell. This was even before they knew the trails would be closed. I, then, had to call them and talk to them about some sort of new plan, though I was secretly hoping they would want to cancel. On Wednesday this past week, a group of 21 kids visited and it was so much fun! As soon as I walked into the visitor’s center where they were exploring a kid came up to me and said, “I saw a snake!” I got a smile on my face and thought; I can already tell this will be a fun group. The group of kids ended up being so well-behaved and fun. I had two of them pretending to be monkeys around me, others coming up to me to ask me to call them this nickname and that, and a little girl who had to hold my hand everywhere we went. The two monkey boys gave me a hug when they left saying they would miss me and of course I would miss them very much! The parks and recreation intern who came along approached me and told me I was really great with kids. The entire experience just refreshed my passion and joy for education and children. It helped me realize that I could most definitely do a non-field job, as long as it meant I was hanging out with kids the majority of the time.
The same day as the parks and recreation group, I finished up my last library program in Ada, Minnesota. At each of my library programs, I read this book, called Big Tracks, Little Tracks. There is one page where you have to guess what animal the track belongs to and there was a snake track. One of the boys said, “Indiana Jones hates snakes.” It completely made my day and the other intern, Anna, who was with me, totally thought about how I was probably super excited. Then Anna and I went to subway. We were so excited to have subway, since there aren’t many around. The guy at subway was so excited to have customers. He was so friendly and said numerous times thank you for coming. I love the small town friendliness!
I actually got to go out into the field last week, three times! I went out with one of the interns, Maddie, to do habitat surveys. The surveys consist of setting up a transect and measuring and identifying plants in the transect. Although, I certainly enjoyed hanging out in the prairie and seeing random frogs and insects, I do not think plants are my thing. I love learning what plants are and taking pictures of the cool ones, but I did find identifying plants a bit monotonous and boring. Still, I was grateful to get a chance to go out into the field; I just do not think I could do it every day, unless it was my actual job. Another reason why going out into the field is a little less enjoyable than what I imagined it would be is because I don’t know what bigger goal I am striving towards, or how the survey is helping the planet. I can imagine myself in a country in Africa, doing transects for anything related to Rhinos and sucking it up for the greater good. That might sound silly, but at this point, I suppose my ambitions and ideals are a bit higher than they should be. I still have faith and passion for certain subjects, and I truly want to help with those someday and I know even through the boring, monotonous jobs, I will continue happily because we will be working for justice and a greater good.
This past week, I helped with someone else’s library program in Crookston. They had 9 stations set up for the kids to go to. She originally had me at the Teepee making station, but I wasn’t very confident in my skills. I asked the other intern if they were okay with doing that station and me doing the mud pie station. Turns out, she didn’t want to get dirty in the mud, so it worked out well. I got so messy at the mud pie station! One girl was so excited about the mud, she grabbed my arm and wiped it all over it, and then wanting to make her day, I let her put mud on my cheeks and nose. At that point I was so dirty and washed myself off, not that it mattered, because it was still in my hair. Then there were kids that wanted to do mud handshakes with each other. I foolishly suggested mud high fives and they splattered mud all over the place and on themselves! It was quite fun! One little boy came over to the table and spent about 30 minutes there. We piled mud high on top of the table and we made a volcano. I would count down from 10, and he would pretend like the volcano exploded, throwing mud up into the air. We did mud high-fives numerous times together! The first time, mud splattered all over his face and he stood there, staring off into space for a few moments. I was worried he got some in his eyes and was hurt. I asked him if he was okay and two seconds later he grinned happily and continued on. Let’s just say, with that kid, I got pretty muddy. It was fun though, cool to see, that sometimes messy things can be the most fun. Messy situations, might not be fun, but I’d like to take on the kid’s attitude. You might get hit by some mud (tough situations/ challenges) and for a few moments (longer, really, if we are talking about life) you are shocked and might be a bit hurt, but if you want to persevere and live life to the fullest, you get that grin back on your face and you use the mud (the tough situation) to move on and enjoy life.


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