Observer Comments

11:53 Mon Sep 14, 2020

Worlds of Dew
This world of dew
is a world of dew,
and yet, and yet.
 
-Kobayashi Issa
 
I remember first reading Issa’s famous haiku 5 years ago and being struck by its profundity (I should mention that this is just one possible translation from the original Japanese). Many great haiku seem to have a sort of universal nature and magnitude to them, and trying to explain them almost seems to do a disservice to the art, but as I continue my work as a weather observer, this one keeps coming to mind...
 
At work, I feel a constant drift from microcosm to macrocosm, as I’m constantly charged with meticulously recording small meteorological details in an effort to make sense of the bigger picture, and it is in this realm that this poem seems to have particular weight. Often times, my observations feel like a grain of sand in the vast oceans of climate science and meteorology. But what a grain of sand it is!
 
Surely, anyone who has spent time on the summit recognizes what a dynamic and unique place this is, with a fascinating microclimate of its own. Often times when we start to sharpen our gaze, we realize that the microscopic details, so often overlooked with all their transience, tend to contain dynamic worlds of their own.
 
Supposedly Issa wrote this poem in the early 1800s after the death of one of his daughters. I wonder what was going through his mind. As I look outside, fog collects on the window, and a large aggregate drop rolls down the pane, before disappearing out of sight.
 


Nate Iannuccillo, Weather Observer/Education Specialist
  

15:16 Mon Sep 07, 2020

You Live On The Summit?!

After a busy weekend on the summit, I have realized there are many people that are unfamiliar with how the Obs staff operates on the summit. I had many questions asking about how long we are up here and many shocked faces when they learned that we live on the summit for a week at a time!

 Figure 1: Living room in our living quarters

Summit staff is split into 2 shifts with 3 observers per shift. We have shift change every Wednesday and swap out the 3 observers. This means that when you are up-bound you are then on the summit for the next week! We live in our living quarters, which is one flight of stairs below our office space (not a bad commute to work if you ask me). There is a set of 2 daytime observers that work 12 hours during the day and one night observer who works the opposite 12 hours. We keep this schedule every shift!

 Figure 2: Kitchen in the Obs living quarters.

Along with the daily tasks of weather observers, recently we have also picked up the duties of cooking and cleaning. In a typical year, we have 2 volunteers who will join a shift and help out with cooking and cleaning. However, recently it has just been the bare bone staff meaning that we have all gained experience cooking for the shift! The rotating dinner duty has been a new and fun experience of being back on staff at the Obs. When I was an intern in 2017, I was spoiled with the hospitality of Summit Volunteers.

 Figure 3: Dining area in the living quarters.

After our 12-hour shift on duty observing the weather, we eat dinner family style and typically will relax together as a shift. Recently, my shift has been watching a TV series together and occasionally will even play a card game. Living with your coworkers is just another aspect of this job that makes it so unique. You truly do get to know the people you work with much faster and better than in any other setting. I left my internship feeling as if I gained a summit family and lifelong friends, and I feel that will happen this time around as an observer as well!



Nicole Tallman, Weather Observer/Education Specialist
  

08:26 Thu Sep 03, 2020

Oboz on The Go

I think it is safe to say that many people have experienced a change in their 2020 habits and plans. I feel like my day to day schedule can vary so wildly that even my best laid out plans change quickly and unexpectedly. As spring came into focus the beginning of April, I was excited to pack away my Oboz insulated Bridger boots for something lighter and more breathable. I had every intention to spend quite a bit of time exploring the local trails around me as quarantine was still in its infancy. Because of this I decided to lace up with a pair Oboz Aretes. I choose both a low waterproof and mid non-waterproof, as I wanted variety in my day to day. Little did I know this choice was about to knock itself out of the park when it came to versatility.

Amidst my time living in the Mount Washington Valley and working on the summit of Mount Washington I have been running around quite a bit over the past few months and on a fairly tight schedule. I have struggled to adjust to the new pace of life and still find time for myself outside. Often times when I do get out it isn't expected, but having a shoe that crosses over all aspects of my life helps. The Aretes offer a durable, comfortable, and stable shoe that doesn’t look bad either. I can put them on in the morning and take on whatever outdoor wandering or relaxing I got into without needing to change.

Because of our partnership between the Mount Washington Observatory and Oboz, our staff including, myself are fortunate to be prepared for whatever is thrown our way at work. It’s a bonus to have the same comfort and durability follow us into our personal lives too.

 
An evening back yard dinner off the summit.


Rebecca Scholand, Summit Operations Manager
  
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