After two years working from home, sitting in front of my computer for eight hours a day, making many very unnecessary trips to the fridge or pantry, and barely going anywhere or seeing anyone, I feel reinvigorated and refreshed!
Well, ok, that's absolutely not true. I'm very much in a rut. And I know I'm not alone. We're all muddling through, right?
To get through my muddle and out of my rut, I decided to do something different and unusual – to really step out of my comfort zone. So I signed up to become a TreeKeeper through Openlands, a conservation organization that protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois. TreeKeepers are ambassadors for the urban forest of Chicagoland, volunteers who care for, plant, and protect trees to help cultivate a stronger urban forest. But you can't just hug a tree and call it day. To become a TreeKeeper, you must take 8 classes (a total of 25 hours), pass a written exam, and complete practical exams on tree planting, mulching, and pruning. You also have to pledge 25 volunteer hours within the year of graduation.
Typically I would say, well, I WANT to do this, but, hey, I'm too busy working full-time, juggling family responsibilities, and just trying to keep my head above water. Instead, I took the plunge and am learning about mycorrhizae, anthracnose, urban soils, and bipinnately compound leaves, as well as trudging through forest preserves trying to apply proper pruning techniques to unsuspecting trees.
While I truly love trees and wanted to learn how to better identify them, I wasn't in the market for such a hefty commitment. But I'm all in now, hoping this class and its obligations going forward will help pull me and my compacted roots out of my Covid rut.
So tell me, what are you doing – or plan to do – outside of your comfort zone to emerge from your Covid rut?
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