Saturday, July 2, 2011

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

There were three productive and beautiful days that I spent with NYSAIS colleagues at the Think Tank 2011 (#nysaistt11), in Rensselaerville, New York, imagining, exploring, and creating better ways for teachers to learn and collaborate in the interest of their students. We confirmed the creation of The Council for Professional Learning and Collaboration (CPLC), established and promoted a community space for teachers at NYSAIS schools to experience and continue their professional development, and we opened up a Twitter feed for NYSAIS: Nysaisnow.  It was a stirring, motivating, and energizing think tank, and worth every minute.  'Thinking big thoughts, seeing forests filled with possibilities, and trying to see the trees to keep sight on what matters.  Now on to vacation!

The Adirondack hike was described as "fairly easy", though "steep at the end" with "great views for small effort."  Sounds terrific, right?  Every step, however, had to be measured, most of them uphill over exposed tree roots, mud puddles, rocks and branches.  I watched my every obstacle, with head down more than up, so missed out on the expanse around me. It was a great mental challenge and, like all mental challenges, quite tiring. Would there be a payoff, as promised?

After an hour, I cried "uncle", and Clay said he would sprint ahead to see how much was left and whether that "great view" would really be worth it. We agreed to a five minute window for search, then allowing for 5 minutes for Clay to return to me. While he explored, I sat still, imagined bears behind trees, and I started to whistle a happy tune.  At almost precisely the 5 minute mark, I heard Clay groan satisfyingly and I knew he had found the peak.  He called down to me that it was definitely worth the last trek, and we began our rendezvous with me heading up and him heading down.  We joined up, went the last tenth of a mile together;  a rocky uphill scramble through narrow passageways, more like a climb than a hike.  It was fun and, because I trust Clay and his satisfying groans, very promising. Once at the top, there was the open face of Castle Rock with an expansive view of Blue Mountain Lake, Indian Lake, and Eagle Lake surrounded by green mountains the likes of which only late June and early July can provide!  There was the forest, with its trees, lakes, and sky.  Everything in its time, its place.

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