Thank You and Goodbye!
2016-10-05 04:47:52.000 – Michael Dorfman, Weather Observer/IT Specialist
After 4 years as an Intern and Weather Observer with the Mount Washington Observatory, I have decided that it is time to move on. The last few weeks have been very bittersweet, knowing that this wonderful chapter of my life is coming to a close and waiting in anticipation for the next one to open. I have been trying my hardest to take mental pictures of every beautiful moment, storing them in the dusty shoe box that never gets thrown away in the back of my head.
Working on the summit isn’t just a job – it’s a lifestyle. The summit crew forms one cohesive, living, breathing body. We all play our part in making the cogs of the Observatory engine turn. We all rely on each other, knowing that any work that was left undone would directly lead to additional work required by other members of our summit family.
The perpetual rhythm of this lifestyle made weeks feel like days and months feel like weeks. Measuring time in 2-week long spans (the length of an on and off week) makes time go by so, so fast. I became so accustomed to my daily routine of morning radios, daily check, raisin bran breakfast, morning (or afternoon) observations, and chipping away at the IT tasks on my plate.
The months had a rhythm as well. The brief summers would be busy with tours and outdoor work. We would see our first snow and glaze in September and weather would quickly deteriorate from there. By late October, we were taking a truck with chains up the Auto Road, quickly transitioning to the Observatory’s snow tractor by mid to late December. Days with little sunlight and summit visitors would be the norm for this time of year; it was our quiet time. Late December and early January signaled the start of our trip season. Many overnight visitors to the summit in awe of the incredible weather reminded me of a big reason why I love the winter. Playing in the winds was a bi-weekly ritual. The hourly hammer of metal-on-metal reverberated through the building indicated one of the main reasons we are up here; to make sure rime ice doesn’t overtake our instrumentation.
We then started to see longer days in March and April, giving me the occasional chance to get outside and take advantage of the settling snow pack to go for a quick afternoon ski on the summit cone. Eventually, sun-baked, mashed potato snow would turn to corn slush. The typical rhythmic carving of fresh snow under the snow tractor blade would turn to a slushy mess as the temperatures warmed and started melting our snow pack. This often formed a tsunami of snowmelt and slush down the road as the snow cat made its way down each Wednesday.
Our office view never gets old, but there were always those times I looked out the window and viewed the Northern Presidential Range like I recognize my own face in a mirror; exactly what I expect and nothing out of the ordinary. This jaded attitude never lasted too long-in the summertime, summit newcomers could constantly be seen and overheard in awe of the view and terrain on the summit, reminding me how lucky I really am to have this view every day.
I am going to miss my summit family and all the observers I worked with through the years. Thank you to my current shift, Tom, Ryan and Taylor, for being unbelievably supportive and always having my back. Carmon, Adam, Caleb and Ben; thank you for all you’ve helped me with – I’m going to miss you guys. Thank you to the valley folks who keep this organization running and promoting education, outreach and research. And for the interns, observers and staff members who aren’t with the Observatory any more, thank you; you will always be part of the family.
In my time here, I’ve become increasingly fascinated with time lapse photography. I’ve just finished putting together my final time lapse compilation from the summit. I hope you enjoy it!
“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go” -Jalaluddin Rumi
Michael Dorfman, Weather Observer/IT Specialist