Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Thaw

We are slowly watching our cocoon of snow and ice melt away.

Our winter wonderland is ending the same way it began, only in reverse: from snow to sleet to rain.

It's still hovering around freezing this morning, so it's just cold enough for the ice to cling, but it's supposed to reach the mid-40's, so it will eventually succumb.

Last night we were awoken by a very loud, startling noise - kind of like a resounding SCHLUMP-SPLATTER!

It was nothing more than sheets of ice and snow sliding off the roof.

Mark visited the beaver pond, yesterday, just to see if it had frozen over.

Not quite, but it was getting there.

Not to worry, the lodge makes for a cozy retreat under the ice.

The beavers are happily snuggled inside, munching on twigs they stored over the summer and fall.

I haven't mentioned this yet, but we have been mulling over a pretty big disappointment during this snowy week.

You may remember that the park manager retired three months ago. Mark was appointed the interim manager until a new one could be hired on.

He's been a ranger for 12 years now. He's known for the last several years that if the opportunity arose to apply for park manager, he would take it - even if it meant taking on all the necessary headaches.

I watched him flourish under his new leadership role. He took the responsibilities of interim manager in stride. I've never seen him more confident or self-assured.

When the time came to submit his application and interview for the position, we felt pretty good about it. We were supposed to find out last Friday who they selected, but it was such a close race they ended up deliberating until Tuesday.

Then we found out who they selected. It wasn't Mark.

Jacob is an awesome person, an incredible manager, a phenomenal ranger, and a good friend of Mark's. Despite him being a few years younger, he has already had managerial experience, and had a little more leadership training than Mark, which is ultimately why they picked him.

It was a bit of a blow for us. We were looking forward to the possibility of a pay raise and him having weekends off, with all the work that needs to be done on our new house.

More than anything though, I know he was eager to move up in the ranks and become the park leader.

I've spent a great deal of time in prayer about it. And I knew that whatever happened, it would be God's will.

So here we have His answer. It's not what we wanted, but that doesn't mean God wasn't listening or didn't feel like we deserved what we wanted.

He just has something else in mind - something bigger, something better.

On the flip side of things, it will be nice to have neighbors again! For the last few months we have been the only ones living on the park. One ranger retired, the manager retired, and the other ranger and his wife moved off the park.

Of course, our new neighbors will be about a quarter mile away, but neighbors nonetheless!

Plus, they have young kids that Ian will enjoy playing with.

Another positive I have considered, is that it might open up an opportunity for me to work at the park again.

If Mark had become manager, he wouldn't have been able to hire me on - nepotism, and all.

I would really love to work as a park naturalist again, if that becomes a possibility.

I know Mark and Jacob will make a fantastic team, steering the park in a brave new direction.

It is the dawn of a new era, and I look forward to seeing the positive changes unfold.

Watching the ice melt away, we are reminded of the changing of the seasons.

Things can change in an instant, and often in ways we do not expect or wish for.

But we adapt and change with them, becoming stronger for it.

I love this man.

He is a great husband, an awesome father and an incredible ranger. He is brilliant, driven and talented. I know there are still wonderful things in store for him.


  1. Aww, I'm sorry to hear it didn't work out with the job, but like you said, I think that just means there are even more amazing opportunities to come. You and Mark are a wonderful team and nothing but good can come of something as special as that. Is the park close to your new property? I wasn't sure if you would be in the same area or closer to other parks that might present possible opportunities? Either way, glad it is warming up outside again and thanks for posting all the lovely vistas! :)

    1. Thanks. :) Our new place is about 12 miles from the park, and as a ranger Mark has to live within a 20-mile radius. The next closest park is about 30-35 miles away, so we are pretty well stuck where we are for now. But who knows what the future holds!

  2. This is a truly beautiful post! You said it Sister, God has the plan and this didn't happen because of His plans. I can't wait to see where He leads you! And it probably is a blessing that you'll be able to go back to working in the park when the time is right!

  3. I haven't mentioned it to many people, but I was the "runner up" for a new position at Great Smoky Mountains NP 2 years ago. The way you describe the feeling of it all is so accurate. I was happy for the guys they hired and knew the competition was intense, but at the same time it felt like such a blow after making it that far, especially since I was working at the Visitor Center at the time. Nevertheless, that time was full of lessons for me, and because of all the closed doors, I was able to (had to) move closer to my parents and stay home with Hazel. That has been the biggest blessing of all.

    1. Thanks for sharing. It's hard not to feel a certain amount of anguish, in a situation like that. But you're right - it usually ends up being a blessing in disguise.