Today I got paid to stand on top of a mountain as wind whipped around me, feet planted wide apart in the snow, head tilted back, belaying children as they scaled a 30 foot ropes course element.
Today I got paid to check harnesses, tie knots, and grip rope until I could barely make a fist my hands were so cold.
Today I got paid to encourage and cajole.
Today I when I glanced up the mountains were stained brilliant red and pink by the sunset.
Today was good. Today I shoveled snow and learned children’s names.
Today I got paid to be outside with young people.
Writer Terry Tempest Williams says that a shared love of nature is the most political act of all (Williams 80). Walking back from the ropes course, our legs stiff from standing and climbing in the cold I glanced back to see the sky bright and clear with sunset.
“Stop!” I yelled. “Turn around and say ‘hey that’s beautiful.'”
“Hey! That’s beautiful!” Fourteen 6th graders from the Inland Empire of Southern California chorused, voices clear in the evening light, faces scrubbed clean by wind and snow, eyes bright with laughter and sunlight.
Today I shared challenge and a love of nature–I didn’t need to say much today but when I did say was political.
Tempest Williams, Terry. When Women Were Birds: Fifty Four Variations on Voice. New York: Sarah Critchton, 2012. Print.