The (Very Witty) Wind Beneath My Wings

What can I say about this treasure of a human being?!  Maggie, dahling, you complete me. 

This young women reached out to me last year to inquire about being our “Environmental Intern” this summer.  You may have heard about this sooooper cool company called Patagonia where the employees take surf breaks, the founder (Yvon Chouinard) fights tooth and nail for environmental and social justice, and their products last a lifetime (they even have a little wagon that toodles about to fix your old clothes and gear - for free).      

Well they also will pay their employees their full salary to go devote 320 hours to an environmentally minded nonprofit.

As I do will all prospective interns and staff, I gave Maggie the breakdown of, “I know that my Instagram makes this job look like all we do is run around in flowery fields, dancing with bees, but actually… this work is brutal - mentally and physically.  It’s hot, it’s heavy, it’s overwhelming.  We work seven days a week and take on multiple jobs at one time.  One day you might be tabling at an event at a fancy winery and the next elbows deep in a bee hive.  The next your working on spreadsheets in the office all day, and then you spend the evening moving hives.  The next morning you might have 60 kids to teach all about bees, and then you spend the rest of the day running dozens of random errands.  Farming is hard.  Nonprofit work is hard.  And combined, they are more than most people can handle.”

“Sounds great!  I’m in!”

Were her exact words.

Upon arriving to the small hamlet of Ashland, Oregon, Maggie and I were instant pals.  Turns out were have just about literally everything in common, and were finishing each other’s sentences within the first day.  Maggie not only brought her stellar work ethic and curiosity to the organization, she brought a really big smile.  Which made me smile, and then laugh.  Which made her laugh.  And then one of us would yell or snort, and everyone would back away slowly.  And there we were in our little bubble of hyperventilation and joy.  Which is exactly what I needed in this asskicker of a year, and I didn’t even know it.

This week Maggie went back to her home base in Reno and her real job at Patagonia.  I know she is taking with her a deep love and appreciation of our bees, and a commitment to continue to live on, and drive, the cutting edge of sustainable and regenerative practices in her personal and professional life.  Girl, I can’t wait to see what you do next, and I miss you already!  

Sarah Red-LairdComment