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Start to finish


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By: Bryan Goldner

I used to be someone who had difficulty finishing the things that I’d started. What am I saying? I am someone who has trouble finishing the things I’ve started. Unlike some, I am incapable of mental revolution. The veritable coup d’état of my mind would certainly be a violent upheaval seeing as how the current regime has been deeply rooted since an early age. Gradual social reform has been taking hold however, in the depths of my consciousness. The proverbial “grind” has instilled in me follow-through, quality and pride in my work, without which calling a project finished would be the same as not starting at all.

This week we have been constructing tent pads for hikers in campsites which are too remote to access with heavy machinery. Good thing I’ve brought the guns. The pads are for Lake Vermillion State Park, which is set to open the summer of 2016 to campers. They are large, heavy and cemented into stone with steel rebar, features Atlas himself would have difficulty displacing. The permanency of these sites means a great deal to me.

The pads will serve hundreds, maybe thousands of campers throughout their lifetimes. They will stand unmoved until perhaps the Earth swallows them back into oblivion long after I have ceased to exist. Now, it seems, it matters quite a bit that these structures get finished. It matters that they are built with care and a sturdiness that binds them to the bedrock as if they were grown from it.

The struggle of breaking rock and hauling timber makes the final product that much more radiant. Each completed site fills an exhausted crew with galvanic pride. A deep pulse, brief and powerful, consumes us and just as quickly spills from our bodies as we keep our noses to the grindstone, moving on the next task at hand. After all is said and done we go home knowing we’ve made something useful and worked hard to do it.

When you become part of an endeavor so far beyond yourself completion is not an option, it is the modus operandi. It is the quality and the sweat and the soreness of the physical form. As my term continues it hardens my resolve. Maybe the old guy will let the dishes or the laundry slide half done, but the new guy will be there fighting before he lets something meaningful or important go unfinished.