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Southeast Conservation Corps


A Night in the Woods

               Imagine you’re lying in your tent. Safely wrapped in your cocoon of nylon tenting and sleeping bag fluff, with your head resting comfortably on your bag of clean clothes. With the snores of your compadres lulling you into steady sleep and howling coyotes reminding you of the beautiful and expansive wilderness surrounding you, your mind begins drifting.

               Crushing rocks all day leaves your mind with only one path to wander. Visions of singing, dancing rocks along the trail plague your mind. The blues and greens of nature act as a backdrop to the sweet voices of your teammates singing sweet, trail lullabies. “Doe, a dear, a female dear. Ray, a drop of golden sun…”

               Twirling, spiraling, deeper and deeper into sing-song dreams, slowly you are fading out of consciousness. Just when you have conceded to your subconscious imagination for the night, something in your physical world starts tugging you back.

               Fire nibbles at your feet, your back, your legs. Your eyes shoot open, glazed in a sleepy gloss. One hand fishes around the floor for your headlamp and you quickly click it on, only to find your tent covered in ants! A night of sugary dreams has quickly turned into a real life nightmare. Piercing teeth sink into your skin and quickly you jump to your knees. You grab a nearby book and start smashing at the intruders, but quickly realize it is doing no good against their prehistoric exoskeletons. The only option is to evacuate.

               Despite the unfortunately restless night, your day still starts at six AM and the sun still rises to start the workday. You and seven of your compadres trudge up the mountain in unison. Their jokes become more and more amusing as the exhaustion induced delirium kicks in by lunch time. Crushing rock after rock, swinging your pick again and again, you begin to see why you were crazy enough to spend nine days in the woods and share your tent with some unwelcome guests.   

               What began as a huge tripping hazard, over the course of a few days, has transformed into a well carved trail through dense greenery, the sight of which alone can take you back to your best hiking memories with family and friends. Your team comradery and accomplishments give you the courage to come back to camp, kick those ants out of every nook and cranny of your tent, and smartly relocate yourself to a new area while you’re at it.

               With everything back in harmony, and despite a few fiery bites up your legs, you can take a deep breath, look out over the pond as the sunset paints it yellow and red, and fall back in love with your beautiful, bug filled, loving home in the woods. 

By Delaney Daugherty, Crew 960


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Conservation Legacy Showcase Recording