It is Friday morning in the Universe. I am sitting on a rock in the Redwood Forest about 30 feet from a small stream. The trees around me are easily one hundred feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide. Today is our day to relax and reflect. I am not sure where to begin this post. I hope that those of you who have been following our blogs posts have gained a bit of insight into this excursion. Perhaps we have even inspired you to go out and explore our country.
For me, this class has embodied all of the possibilities of the educational experience. I have summoned ten young, eager and inquisitive souls. I have asked that they embrace this journey and make it theirs. I have further asked that they share their stories with you. I was always taught that education comes with a certain responsibility and I think that it is important to share this experience with all of the people that made this journey possible. Certainly Belmont University took a chance by allowing me to turn this crazy dream into a reality, but also our many friends and family members that have met us along the way, cheered us on behind the scenes, offered support and advice, and even directions when our navigational instruments have failed us (I maintain that I am ‘eagle eyes’ with an incredible sense of direction).
I don’t have any idea what life was like for early settlers or the natives in this great land. What I do understand is that we have embraced the United States as a land of hope and possibility. It is clear that some Americans have greater possibilities and options than others. I have been forced to deal with my privilege and entitlement along the way. I think this type of introspection is healthy and has been one of the many eye-opening experiences for the students as well. But as I sit here on this rock, typing away on my MacBook I think of wonderful faces, hugs received from strangers, the breaking of bread with friends that I met only hours before, of 10 wide eyed students who are curious to know this world, and even more passionate to make a difference. Have no doubt that this is an exhaustive experience. We are fully entrenched in the potential of this class and together we attempt to rally even when we only want to sleep.
Why do families and friends camp? We have grown accustomed to the 50-hour workweek. We live to work, and sometimes work to scrape by. People camp to escape and get away. We want to hear silence, and breath clean air. It is hard to just sit and be in nature, but learning to think like a tree is perhaps the greatest lesson learned to this point. These trees that surround have not only survived, they have nurtured the lives around them, they have helped lost souls, they have provided homes and support and continue to reach toward the sky. The bark is rough and rigid from a hard life, but they stand tall and strong and proud. It is Friday afternoon in everywhere U.S.A. and I am exploring this great land and these amazing people. I am inspired and hopeful for our future.
I hope that those of you who have followed our story, and those who have stumbled across our trip have taken in a bit, perhaps you’ve even learned something new along the way. If time allows, and even if it doesn’t… I highly recommend finding a rock in a forest and just sitting to take it all in. Look at the sky. Be one with the wind and the trees. Meditate on that for a bit and let the workweek fade into the distance. Breathe in the good air and out with the bad. Feel free to reflect at anytime.