Oh, the places we go, the geographies we ramble across, the memories we make. When we spend time in a particular setting and then leave, we carry with us the memories of people and adventures, but we also carry within us the geography of place, and that geography is a powerful force within us. Or as Wallace Stegner once noted in reflections about wilderness spaces these places can become “geographies of hope,” entering into the heart.
Spend an hour during the summer months sitting in one of the hundred green Adirondack chairs sprinkled throughout Proctor’s campus and simply listen. Of course you’ll hear the sounds of birds singing their songs and frogs croaking their own tune from the pond. Listen a bit more closely and you’ll hear the steady sound of hard work: lawn mowing, weed wacking, building, constructing, fixing, and mending. While many of us enjoy a slower pace to summer, our Maintenance Team is operating at full throttle working on campus improvement projects that are unable to take place during the school year.
Life at an academic institution synchronizes you to nature’s cycles as meteorological and calendar milestones create inseparable associations: fall foliage/Fall Family Weekend, first snow/Holderness Weekend, Thanksgiving Break/snow guns blowing at the Proctor Ski Area, frigid cold of January/pond hockey, late March snowstorms/Project Period, black flies/baseball season, and first thunderstorms of the spring/Graduation weekend. This winter, a disruption to this cycle occurred when Proctor made the decision to dredge the Proctor Pond in order to restore the aquatic ecosystem at the center of campus.
Proctor's ever-changing physical plant necessitates yearly updates to our campus map, and last Friday's sunshine afforded the perfect opportunity to zip around campus and grab updated photos of all 45 buildings and 21 dormitories for the website. With ten major facility upgrades over the past decade (Recording Studio, Peabody Dorm, Teddy Maloney '88 Rink updates, Farrell Field Turf Complex, Sally B Dormitory, West End Dorm, Cortland House, Brown Dining Commons, Proctor Ski Area upgrades, and Farrell Field House renovation), we thought a quick visual tour of campus on a blue bird, early June day was in store.
To find traction and a sense of laying down tracks, making a mark, having a voice, you need these spaces. It’s not just Slocumb. It’s the Norris theater, the machine shop, the forge, the metal shop, the music studio, the woodworking shop. In Segovia and Aix we have them, and collectively they are some of the most important creative soul corners in our community. In the jargon of the day they might be called makerspaces or tinker spaces, but I like to think of them as soul corners, these eddies within community where one finds a path of one’s own while connecting with something much bigger than oneself. They are both humbling and inspiring.
We are in the midst of an unprecedented cold stretch in central New Hampshire as daytime temperatures have not climbed above 5 degrees and nightime lows have consistently been -10 degrees or colder for the past six days. Students will return from Winter Break this evening to relatively balmy temperatures in the upper single digits. Keeping Proctor's forty-five buildings and myriad heating systems within each running has kept our Maintenance Team incredibly busy during this stretch. Today, we pause in the midst of a professional development day to thank them for their tireless commitment to keeping us warm!
Campus is quiet as students, faculty, and staff spend time with family and friends over the week of Thanksgiving. This time of transition between seasons affords the opportunity to reflect on past ten weeks of the Fall Term, while looking ahead to all that is possible this winter. Today's blog features a few photos our photographer, Lindsey Allenby, took over the past few weeks from the quiet corners of campus. Each captures the balance we seek during school vacations between reflection, rejuvenation, and planning for the future as we press pause for a few days on the various projects in our lives.