The Squam Conservation Internship provides skills and experience for future conservation professionals while working as the driving force behind the SLA’s conservation mission. This unpaid volunteer internship provides hands-on conservation work experience and certifications over a broad range of activities. Interns serve as campsite hosts and caretakers at our backcountry campsites, work toward the eradication of variable milfoil, engage both youth and adults in environmental education, and perform other conservation duties such as shoreline restoration and trail maintenance and construction. Learn more about the internship program here. Squam Conservation Interns also regularly write about their experiences in the Squam Watershed.
This Sunday, I watched an inchworm crawl for what seemed like hours. I was bored; Obscenely bored. And it was great. Don’t get me wrong; I hated it in the moment. More than anything I wanted a squirrel to come try to make away with my food or a camper to need my assistance, but looking back on it, it was a wonderful experience of self-reflection. It’s an experience, I believe, too few of us have often enough in our 21st century reality. Bear with me.
The kind of boredom that I am talking about is a unique sort. I am, as I’m sure all of you are, fully aware of the sort of boredom that makes you want to forget your responsibilities, the kind that leads to sitting on the couch starring into space. I am talking about the sort of boredom that makes you want to do something, but you can’t think of something you haven’t already done. It’s an anomaly that I often have working here at Squam. I don’t mean to say I do not like it here, but often times our job is to sit and wait, to be ready in case something should happen. Of course, there are times of intense and constant work. I feel this when I’m tendering, sitting in the kayak watching over the divers, Lake Hosting, and, most recently, in the evenings on the islands.
On this particular Sunday, I had spent hours painting a cabin and cleaning composting toilets with Ryan, followed by making dinner for myself and checking in my campers for the night. All of these are engaging and, mostly fun, activities, especially meeting the campers, who are so often friendly. One group invited me to share dessert with them. It’s after all these chores are complete, after I’ve played all the songs I know on the guitar, and after I’ve stared at the heart of my fire until my eyes begin to dry, that the special sort of boredom kicks in.
On Sunday, I sat and looked at this little inchworm, and just thought about stuff. Too many things crossed my mind to explain here, but it ranged everywhere from my future of school and beyond, to why in the world an inchworm evolved to move like that. I am not doing justice to the significance of this mindset. All I can say is that it leaves you feeling more self assured and content. I highly recommend achieving this exceptional form of boredom in our contemporary world of constant distractions.