My Last Day in the Field

September 29, 2023
3 min read
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Last weekend, we witnessed another autumnal equinox, which is when the sun shines directly on the equator, and the people on Earth experience 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of darkness. With every change of season, I am prompted to take a step back and reflect on my time here on this planet. This particular change of season led me to believe that I may have spent my last day in the field as a land surveyor.

What led me to this conclusion? It is a Toyota Rav-4 SUV. After years of driving a pickup truck loaded with every kind of survey equipment imaginable, I was recently assigned a beautiful, shiny new company vehicle. Only this one is more like a station wagon than a survey truck, and there is not one iota of survey equipment inside it.

So what does this mean? The fact that my last day in the field was approximately two years ago leads me to 1 of 2 conclusions:

  1. I’m too old to effectively work in the field.
  2. I’ve performed so well in the office that my time there is more valuable to the company.

I’m going with option “B.”

I have many fond memories of perfect, score of 10 on the weather scale, days in the field in October or April when the sun shone brightly on my face as a cool zephyr rustled through the trees. My co-workers and I effectively applied our detective skills as we uncovered all sorts of historic boundary markers.

Never mind those 90+ degree days with 90% humidity in August, with the incessant buzzing of mosquitos, and stepping on a yellow-jackets nest prompting them to sting me multiple times, all while the rattling of a nearby D-9 bulldozer kicks up clouds of dust that coats everything in a thick, tan layer.

Never mind those bone-chilling, sub-zero days in January, with a 30 mph wind in my face, and my fingers were so cold that I couldn’t hold the pencil to write in the field book. (Young people are asking, “What’s a field book?”)

Now, I find myself at a desk every day. Something I swore I would “HATE” if it ever came to that. But, you know what? It’s not so bad.

  1. The temperature rarely fluctuates more than 5 degrees.
  2. I am surrounded by a fantastic group of people.
  3. Denny lets me bring my dog Roscoe to work with me. (something I could never do in the field!)

So here I sit, or sometimes stand because Denny gave us those cool, adjustable workstations. The mullet I once sported is long gone, only to be replaced by a shiny bald scalp. My 6-pack abs have been replaced by a beer gut the size of a basketball. But after 36 years in the business, I still look forward to going to work every day, and every day I learn something new.

Without seeing it coming, Denny Howell has improved my life. He can make yours better by leading you through your land-based projects.

Give us a call, or go online to


West Chester

1250 Wrights Lane
West Chester, PA 19380

Phone: 610-918-9002
Fax: 610-918-9003


5020 Ritter Road #203 Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

A Howell Company

53 Old Solomons Island Rd. Suite I
Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: 410-266-1160

A Howell Company

1250 Wrights Lane
West Chester, PA 19380

Phone: 610-692-7007

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