It’s been quite a week. The grey, the rain, the pelting sleet, the icy walks, the sand tracking everywhere. The sand. That so, so trackable sand that finds its way through the Maxwell Savage doorway, up the stairs to World Languages, into the Faculty Lounge, down to the Bookstore. It winds its way like a thin, flat, gritty blade into every building, never content with just the walk-off mats or entry grates. It’s entitled sand, bold sand, and in a dreary week of February when the temperatures will range from 0 to near 60, that sands seems purposefully wrought by one of those quirky New England weather patterns. It’s been a week of trudging.
Early snowfall in central New Hampshire and cold November nights has allowed Garry George '78 and his crew at the Proctor Ski Area to create amazing early season conditions on alpine and Nordic trails. A favorite run of mine, even in the winter months, reaches the halfway point after climbing the 600 vertical feet up the backside of the Proctor Ski Area. As you emerge from the double track access road to the top of Proctor’s little big mountain, heart racing from the climb, your eyes peer out over Proctor’s campus and the village of Andover. For so many of us in the Proctor community, this view never gets old. Nor does the feeling of a change in perspective it provides.
Students depart for Winter Break on Friday December 14, however, many skiers and varsity boys' and girls' hockey and basketball teams will be in action over the weekend and into break. Be sure to follow Proctor Athletics on Twitter for game scores and highlights over break, and if you happen to be in the vicinity of any games or races, our Hornets could always use your support!
Roughly 40 prospective families arrived to a bitterly cold campus early Saturday morning, immediately feeling the warmth of the boarding school community into which they stepped. Boarding schools are an enigma for many who are unfamiliar with our holistic approach to education. However, for those of us who have chosen to make Proctor our home and have committed our life’s work to helping our students navigate adolescence, the immersive nature of boarding school life simply makes sense.
Who doesn’t know about the Chris Van Allsburg Polar Express? The story about a mysterious train arriving in the middle of the night, a trip north through jagged mountains and cold winter landscape to the North Pole is a classic. It should be required seasonal reading along with A Christmas Carol and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Yes, required. There, at the pole, Santa stands in a square, sleigh loaded and surrounded by throngs of elves to present the first gift of Christmas to a small boy. The sleigh bell that he gives out is promptly lost to the utter dismay of the boy, and if you don’t know the ending of the story...it’s time to dig up your old copy. It’s a children’s story, but it’s a timeless life reminder about the importance of belief, wonder, and the power of the imagination.
It’s an early snow year this year, one of the earliest I can recall. While we are used to the New England vagaries of weather, the November cold and snow caught many by surprise, and it’s a bit of a delight to be honest. Who doesn’t like a good storm, the trees covered, the plows rumbling by on Route 11? But sometimes I think we are hardwired for slower changes, more gradual transition when the night temperatures gradually dip and the first snows come with the brush strokes of flurries. Why? Because that seems more the nature of life’s temporal changes; they rarely happen in a rush. But we will roll with this early winter and transition to skiing, basketball, and the ice rink and the new vibe. And we like it.
As we dig out from our third November snowstorm of the season, students return to campus this evening after a well-earned Thanksgiving Break. The beginning of each trimester affords a start as fresh as the snow covering campus today, and we can't wait to hop into classes and winter afternoon programs tomorrow.
All the non-weather related signs of spring are here. You can hear birds chirping above the soft dripping of sap into buckets hung on sugar maples around campus. Daylight has reclaimed the early evening hours it abandoned back in November. Spring athletic teams have dispersed around the country for spring training trips. Andover’s annual town meeting has come and gone with the usual small town issues that remind us of the importance of the greater community in which we live. It feels as though spring should be here, but Mother Nature has other plans this March, and, once again, a powerful lesson in patience is bestowed upon us as we hurry up and wait for spring to arrive.