Persevering for the Pyramid

Blogger Amosh Neupane asks & answers: Which is easier? Trail work or a human pyramid?

We tried several times, but failed every single time. There always seemed to be something faulty in our technique or our positioning. During one of the first attempts, the people on the base layer were spaced too wide apart and we couldn’t stay stable. Another time, most of us were having trouble carrying the weight, so we never made it past the second level. Despite our unfaltering efforts, we didn’t succeed. I and my friends returned home from Governors Island disappointed in ourselves for failing to build a stable human pyramid.

While at Governors Island, someone dropped the idea of building a human pyramid after we watched the canon firing show organized by the National Parks Service. Instead of continuing our work on the trail at Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge, the Youth Conservation Corps of New York City was stationed at Governors Island for Wednesday and Thursday of last week. The change in setting offered a break from all the shoveling, hacking, and root-pulling, and the transition back to civilization was quite refreshing. Here, we were helping to repair the famous cobbled brick pathway where George Washington walked during the Revolutionary War. This job being relatively easier than the one at Jamaica Bay, it left us with a lot of spare energy at the end of the day and almost everyone jumped at the prospect of building a human pyramid.

It was one of those things that initially seemed easier said than done, but when I knelt down and my friends started piling on, they didn’t feel heavy at all. I crouched there haughtily thinking I could carry the weight of the world on my back. As people aligned themselves on top of me and the burden started escalating, both I and my conviction about building a pyramid started shaking heavily. I saw my arms wiggling, and I found myself struggling to keep the pyramid stable. The foundation had to remain sturdy. When I moved, I felt the ripple effect it created. Even the tiniest of my movements would make the people above me move, which would in turn make it almost impossible for them to stay put. Even the tiniest of my movements would lead to the entire crew collapsing on me, which wouldn’t be a fun experience. At that moment, I depended on the entire crew and the crew depended on me. But we weren’t able to stay stable for more than a few seconds.

On Friday, after two days of work at Governors Island, the crew walked all the way from Bowling Green, our daily meeting location, up to Hudson River Park on Manhattan’s West Side for our third Environmental Education Day. As excited as I was to go fishing (which was our first activity for the day and something totally new to me) and take a tour of the High Line, my friends and I were still disenchanted by our failure the day before. We decided to give the pyramid one more try. Zack, Anthony, Justin, and I took our spots at the base. Becky, Viviana, and Alex knelt on our backs. Then Rachel and Geordan climbed up and knelt on top of the previous three. Now, it was time for the final piece of the pyramid to go in place. We all waited anxiously for Ryan to climb upwards. I felt my arms shaking and sweat breaking on my forehead. Suddenly, the sound of arrhythmic clapping from our crew leaders signalled that Ryan had managed to get to the top! Hooray!

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