2009-04-21 05:27:58.000 – Mike Carmon, Observer
Change is an enormous part of life up here on the summit. Just this evening, a visibility of 80 miles quickly turned to about 1/2 mile as fog rolled in. Then, just an hour later, the fog was gone, revealing a striking partial undercast to the north and east, through which the lights of Berlin, NH could be seen, while the lights of Bretton Woods and St. Johnsbury, VT to the west remained completely un-obscured. In fact, fog itself is a good example of change. It represents a phase change of water vapor in the air to its more tangible liquid phase. I’ve also seen snow quickly change to sleet, and then to rain, and just as quickly, back to snow. And of course, there’s the infamous winds. A few days ago (April 18), winds averaged just about hurricane force in the wee hours of the morning. Later that afternoon, less than ten hours later in fact, winds had plummeted to around 10 mph.
But weather isn’t the only thing that brings about transitions up here. I can safely say that I’ve had some personal changes since beginning work for the Observatory back in August of last year. For one thing, I originally intended on only staying for a temporary internship during the fall of 2008. That changed thanks to a convenient open observer position, which I just so happened to be qualified for. The job required me to change to the opposite shift, and change to working nights. It also entailed my semi-permanent move to the area. For someone who grew up in New Jersey and spent most of his life there, moving up to the Mt. Washington Valley was a pretty dramatic change of scenery (and one I’m growing to like more and more every day). As far as life on the summit is concerned, I’ve gotten acquainted with tons of new faces in the past six months (co-workers, friends of co-workers, hikers, edu-trippers, german students, volunteers…take your pick!), and that will only continue as my time here does.
And that brings me to yet another change that’s coming up very soon. Although my time here has been extended past my original plan, the intern I was hired with last fall, Jordan, will be ending his internship tomorrow. It’s always bittersweet seeing a co-worker depart in any kind of workplace. However, because of our unique setting, we are not only working but living with our co-workers for a week at a time, who usually become more like friends and family rather than co-workers. And if we’re not sick of each other by the time the shift is over, we might even see each other on our off-week! That’s an awful lot of time spent getting to know the unique personalities that pass through the Observatory.
So, at the risk of getting sentimental here, I can safely say that it will be a bit strange without that kid who’s been around up here since I have. It’s just another part of the ‘tradition of change’ that seems to epitomize Mt. Washington. But in the spirit of that tradition, I look forward to summer when we get a fresh batch of interns to break in!
‘Change is the law of life. And those who only look to the past or present are certain to miss the future.’ – JFK
Mike Carmon, Observer