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.
Campus is quiet as an early March Nor’easter marches up the coast today (our skiers are excited for the anticipated snowfall of well over a foot forecasted in Andover). Spring sports begin in two weeks (with four spring teams traveling to warmer weather for spring training trips next week), but in the meantime, Proctor’s USSA/FIS ski program’s 40+ skiers are entering their busiest stretch of the season as March Championship Series are upon us. After a record-setting season, Proctor’s skiers look to continue their strong performance on the national stage over the coming weeks. Read more about Proctor’s USSA/FIS program and their results this winter below.
In mid-October (oh to feel that autumn sunshine and crisp breeze right now!), I shared thoughts on the annual ninth grade hike to the Proctor Cabin in a blog titled, Shaping and Sustaining Culture (read it here if you’re so inclined), in which I reflected on the intentionality required of crafting the culture of a school like Proctor. Specifically, the blog explored the challenge facing our first year students: “Do I passively embrace the culture that exists here at Proctor or am I willing to actively shape it?”
Whenever we look at our school calendar in August, we see Bonus Weekend just three and a half weeks into the new year, and often scoff at the notion we would need a respite that soon after Winter Break. And then the realities of January hit us, and we always enter this weekend incredibly thankful for a few days off. The challenge this time of year is to step back, in the midst of our busy schedules, and appreciate the incredible amount of hard work that goes into daily life at Proctor. We must pause and allow ourselves to recharge.
I was sitting today...processing January...yes processing January. When you have -18 degrees one day, 52 degrees and 2" of rain with flooding a week later, challenges with discipline, challenges with relationships, and challenges in class, yet simultaneously seeing students produce beautiful writing, art, music, comedy, (even a yo-yo master), and then celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. while tackling the challenges we still face as a nation when it comes to freedom and equity, you must process January.
Forecasting the weather has always been a tricky endeavor. The early calls for Thursday’s storm were for wind, a little snow and cold weather backing in after the event, but nothing epic. Nothing like a winter hurricane. Nothing like Grayson’s bombogenesis of 24 hours. And there is something delicious in the unpredictability, something cleansing in the wildness of a storm.