2016-06-02 15:01:45.000 – Emily Schuitema, Summit Intern
On my first morning back on the summit for the week, Ruth, one of our volunteers for the week, came upstairs and invited us to join her outside for some early morning yoga. I’m usually not a huge fan of yoga – I have a really hard time making my mind slow down and relax, and I seem to fall over a lot whenever I try any pose that requires balancing. However, the idea of standing on top of an empty, peaceful mountain in the early morning hours and just focusing on being still had a certain beauty to it.
One of the poses that Ruth explained to me is called a five-pointed star. In this pose, you stand up tall, extend your arms out fully to each side, and step your feet apart. Your body is stretched out fully to the North, South, East and West. The point of this pose is to find balance. By standing like this, you are opening up your body and harvesting in joy and energy from each direction.
This short yoga tutorial got me thinking about the idea of balance. Since I started my internship at Mount Washington Observatory, finding a balance between work and play, and socializing and being alone has been my biggest struggle. The work schedule at MWOBS consists of working for eight days on the summit, and then having six days off. For my first week on the summit, each day was full of tasks to do, and so there wasn’t much time to hike and explore. I also shared a living area with seven other staff members, so there was never a time when I wasn’t surrounded by other people. Consequently, it was a drastic change when the week ended and I was suddenly alone. Since I’m from Michigan and can’t go all the way home between shifts, I spent my off week on my own in the Valley. This was the first time I had ever really lived completely independently, so being alone for the first time was weird, to say the least. I was very happy to get back up on the mountain and have people to interact with again.
This is why I really liked the idea of the five-pointed star pose that Ruth taught me, where finding balance between all different directions brings joy. There are a lot of ways that balance can be found, even in the unique schedule that we have as summit staff. We have the freedom in our day to take breaks, go outside, and enjoy the beautiful mountain we have the opportunity to live on. It’s also so easy to find an empty area on the summit when we need time to ourselves. And when it gets too weird to be alone for an extended period of time on the off weeks, family and friends will gladly pick up the phone and talk for a while. This week has been all about finding the good in every direction, and combining it all to find balance.
So if you come up to the summit this week and see someone struggling to do yoga, it is most likely me. Feel free to come and join me in enjoying all that is good up here on Mount Washington!
Emily Schuitema, Summit Intern