We have a lot of fun at work. I would love to tell you otherwise, but I would just be lying. The sad part is that sometimes we don’t. If we are not having fun, it’s probably because we are doing something somewhere that is dangerous. This happens more that we admit. Our motto “It’s Perfect” covers most of these occasions, but occasionally, we come upon a situation that is just too much for any phrase.

Dark Mud

The conditions we work in are usually nothing to write an article about. You know we go to really wild places – but we also go to State Parks, recreational areas, farms, and ranches. So, basically, it’s a mixed bag. There are those dark days, where we are a little too giddy in the truck on the way because we know where we have to go that day. Or, there are those other days….where we don’t know until we get there.

Dark – not like the absence of sunshine – dark like unknown…..dark things are the worst. We see a lot of that. Dark water, dark paths, dark woods, dark mud, dark things….that isn’t usually something that makes us giddy. Anytime we face one of those dark things, we change. We become quieter. We ask each other more questions. Each person takes watch for the others. We become a pack. We protect.

Dark Things (Photo by Michael Leary)

We are away from those things you find comfortable. We are not allowed to carry a weapon of any kind. We gave up machetes a long time ago when we learned to make our way more simply. When we are out there, and the dark things are near, we are animals. We see things that you wouldn’t. We hear every crinkle of the leaves. We can tell if the wind changes direction. We see tracks and scat and smell them….those dark things.

Dark River - oil Robert Simm of Winnepeg, Canada

The air is electric when we are in this mode. We sweat and laugh nervously. We forget what we were saying just a moment ago because we see something everywhere….we are on alert.

These times, these times when we are not us but are something different….these are the times I know that we have changed. These are the times I realize that, like the things we see and hear….we have become dark. We walk bravely into the murky water, we slog smoothly through the bog, we slink through the forest, not as intruders, not as us, not as things that don’t belong,

but as dark things….