When I saw the image below (thanks Lindsey for another awesome set of photos this week!), I immediately shared on social media and fell in love with the visual of these pigeons carefully putting one foot in front of the other, hoping to not fall through the freshly formed ice on the Proctor Pond. After admiring the photo further, so much of the emotional journey we’ve been on over the past week came into focus.
Over the past week, we have affirmed to ourselves we are a community where we never feel as though we are treading on thin ice, but rather are a family where the very foundation of our relationships with one another allow us to step confidently into what lies before us, no matter how challenging it may feel.
The past three days have been filled with conflicting emotions: grieving and sadness surrounding the passing of faculty member Lindsey Degon balanced with excitement and anticipation of the Winter Term and the return of off-campus students from Segovia and Ocean Classroom. Understanding how to process these emotions (Should I feel guilty to be laughing and smiling with my friends who were off-campus this fall when other friends are struggling through a tough time?) is not easy for any of us. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to trust our relationships with others; trust that conflicting emotions can coexist in a community when we take the time to understand each other’s journeys.
Operating on a trimester system where academic grades (and attendance points) start fresh each term amplifies the ‘newness’ of each season. Class rosters shift slightly with off-campus programs, new art electives populate academic schedules, off-campus students begin to acclimate to life on campus, new teams start to form their own identities. These transitions create a palpable excitement among the student body on campus, an excitement that helps buoy faculty and staff as we mourn the loss of one of our colleagues.
This anticipation for winter is not just felt emotionally, but in the chill in the air and through the shift in the north wind consistently tugging on the flag outside Maxwell Savage. The snow guns at the Proctor Ski Area are blasting each night, creating a base on the cross country ski trails that the Nordic team and Ski Patrol team enjoyed yesterday (below).
The second day of classes is in the books, hockey and basketball teams play their first official games of the season this afternoon, ski and snowboard teams head to Ragged Mountain to get their season passes, construction on the Farrell Field House continues, and the eighteen students involved in the winter play start to sort through roles and tech needs.
The Winter Term is here, and while it has been a challenging start to the term for all of us, the supportive community around us gives us confidence to take the next step without worry of whether the ice will hold.