Volunteering

Right now, a group of us at the Chattanooga Audubon Society are planning a Halloween haunt called “Acres of Darkness.”  For 4 nights, a ¼ mile trail will be haunted with all kinds of terrors to raise money for the organization.

Last year I did some shooting at the event, but I wasn’t involved in planning it.  This year, the planning committee asked me if I would help after we completed the Birdathon event in April.  How could I resist?

I love Halloween.  You can try out an alter-ego, eat endless amounts of candy, and experience whatever level of terror you’re comfortable with.  It’s just fun.

Saturday morning, I went out to setup one of the stations on the haunted trail.  I realized several things about myself.  First, although I have worked on things from setting up campsites to roofing to changing the oil in my car to repairing garbage disposals, I have never done them alone.

When we decided to each take a station and be responsible for setting it up, I experienced sudden panic.  I realized these are the kinds of jobs where, if pointed in the right direction, I can be helpful, but I’m not adept at deciding what needs to be done.

It was a strange sensation.  Most things I do, I am perfectly able and willing to decide how to go about doing them.  I am not shy about telling other people what to do, either.  Yet, when faced with the simple problem of how to hang some tarps and other props, I found myself at a loss.

Fortunately for me, a far more experienced person was there when I arrived who was willing to help me.  I walked out to the site ahead of him, having been told that everything we needed was already at the site.  There was one, long, yellow nylon rope, two large tarps, and a length of misting hose.

This is when I (re)discovered a second thing about myself:  I really only know how to tie one knot.  That’s the knot I use to tie my shoes.  I learned it from a book of knots my nephew got when he was about 10.  It prevents your shoelaces from untying, but you can still pull out the knot with one pull.  It’s a great knot for shoes; not so great for tarp hanging.

In spite of my years in the Camp Fire Girls, even a basic square knot comes out a tangled mess.  This made me feel especially grateful for the Eagle Scout and long-time Scout Master who was helping me.  I would still be there trying to tie up that tarp if he hadn’t been there.

While I was there, I did a little shooting of a River Rescue volunteer crew picking up trash in the creek that runs through Audubon Acres.  I got to wade through the creek, see a Belted Kingfisher, and hear a Red-shouldered Hawk.  Great start to a Saturday morning!

 

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