Saturday, April 24, 2010

An incredible journey!

With only eight weeks remaining until graduation, only four of which are teaching weeks, feelings of excitement, regret, sadness, and anticipation are settling in. This experience has been incredibly meaningful and rewarding and I know that I will take what I have learned at Islandwood with me into the next adventure of my life! The final quarter is upon all of us and our Independent Student Projects are at long last, underway! There has been talk of them for quite some time and a running joke of, “Yes, this great idea is going to be my ISP,” only to find that it inevitably changes the very next week.

The ISP’s vary extensively as you can choose anything that you fancy to work on while receiving credits for the hours you put in. I, for example, have decided as an amateur gardener, that I would like to gain more skills in that area. As such, I have found a beautiful yet lonely raised bed garden on the island housed at a Buddhist temple that hasn’t received any love in over three years. The monks are often away and have been kind enough to allow me to “move in” and make the space my own! Other graduate students are writing grants, building fire kits for future students, and working with the Boys and Girls Club in Seattle to make their program more earth friendly! The options are endless and many grads are finding the experience fulfilling and engaging as we are in control of the outcome.

The weather is turning and the sun is showing its face on a more regular basis. Today it shined for the entire day and it was warm enough for flip-flops, gardening and a doggy visit to the beach! The night hikes are actually becoming crepuscular creeps again (just as they were when the year began) and they do not hold the same daunting appeal as they used to! This past week, even at 8:15pm when I was dropping my students off at their lodges as the night hike was coming to an end, dusk sat motionless for an additional 20 minutes. In a rather forgetful moment of ease, I had preceded as usual with my night hike activities until they were brought to an absolute halt at the finale of my “magic rocks” story.

Magic rocks you inquire? Let me explain… the instructor tells an elaborate and jaw dropping tale about losing their way in the wilderness and darkness creeping upon them. They began to become frightened when all of a sudden a rock broke off in their hand that lit up and guided them all the way down the mountain safely. The instructor proceeds to tell the motionless and awe stricken students that they have brought some of the “magic rocks” back for them to try but to create the same light that appeared on that beautiful night, we must chew them with our mouths open. The students eagerly put out their hands awaiting the “magic rocks” they had only seen in the movies. Yet on this fateful evening the students attempted the task only to find that it was not dark enough to work and my story had been shamed! You see, the “magic rocks” are Wintergreen Lifesavers and the scientific process occurring is called triboluminesence… try it at home in a dark room, it works!

Wednesday arrived and with it a sore throat! BUMMER!!! If you have worked with children before, then you know the drill, if not, then start pumping your body full of nutritious goodies now to prepare your immune system! Sickness comes with the territory and many of us have had our bouts this year and had to take a day or three to recover! Luckily, I am feeling better and am extremely proud of all of the grads, we have worked incredibly hard this year and our journey is about to come to an end!

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