I wasn’t intending to take a blogging hiatus during this summer’s term in Vermont, but that’s how it worked out, and I think it worked out rather well. Trite as it may sound, I can’t believe how quickly the summer went. I’m not sure how it is possible to feel simultaneously like we just got here and that we have all known each other forever, but such is the magic of the mountain.
“Magic” is a word that came up in a variety of contexts at the opening ceremonies. Professors spoke of the magic that pervades the campus and I think that’s part of what makes this program special. All of us believe in magic. Not spooky magic or the fantastical Harry Potter magic, but true magic. Magic that exists in beauty, in imagination, in the ability of words to create and transport. Magic that characterized this summer on many levels.
Most of us are English teachers, and the camaraderie that exists in this shared experience fosters a community unlike any other. At our convocation, one of the speakers said, “your students hover around the periphery like spirits”, and this is true. We arrive fresh off the school year, a little mentally bedraggled and worse the wear, but we carry the joys, triumphs, heartaches and struggles of our students from the year with us. That same speaker spoke of teaching being melancholy at times because “we are rarely are there see our success.” There is enough truth in this to draw tears, but the assurance that we are doing some good will be a good reminder on the tough days.
Beautiful mountains and compelling classes aside, the people here are simply the best. They are educators, readers, learners, ponderers, and adventurers. We have laughed together to the point of tears more times than I can possibly recount. We have sat on porches and Adirondack chairs watching the sun set and lingered over conversation and wine. We have stood in darkness, enveloped by the stars so bright and so numerous they almost look like clouds. And now that summer is drawing to a close, we will be redeployed to our classrooms and our kids recharged in some ways, bleary-eyed in others.
So how to sum up a summer? I can’t. It’s impossible. And this summer will probably fuel many a future reflection, but in the trend of the ever-popular listicle I will give you the summer in countdown form in a forthcoming post. Until then…