Today, I start class with a journal prompt: In the past week, please list something you’ve struggled with, enjoyed, and beautiful you’ve seen…
Fingers scribble and thunderheads rise in the south. We share our struggles and they include: Finding routine and balance between yurt life and full course loads at the college, spiders, and muggy humid weather. Our enjoyments are the yurts, biking, community potlucks and games of capture the flag. The list of beauty is long. Prayer flags in the wind, kayaks on water and loons calling back and forth, a bald eagle, mist rising over the meadow after a 93 degree day, the sound of crickets, apples plucked from a nearby tree and enjoyed as a midday snack.
Reflection, feedback and problem solving are critical links to Osgood Pond Semester. I believe them to be critical links in relationships and community development as well. We must talk about what’s working and what’s not. We must talk about what we’re struggling and thriving with.
After journaling, it’s time to make a fire pit. The thunderheads rise and release a few fat drops of water. Dominic and Hanna grab shovels while Hyla and I collect rocks. I believe the fire place to be the heart of our community. Fire has power. Cooking, dancing, survival and destruction. Therefore, it’s important to learn basic fire skills.
The fire pit comes together nicely. Dominic slides stones into place and I set a large one in the center. The students gather birch bark and hemlock and balsam sticks. The objective today is to start a fire with one flick of a lighter. Nests are pieced together, birch bark interlaced with dry wood and one by one they’re ignited. We watch the flames rise and fall — four fires are in different phases of burning.
Hours later, during the golden hour, I set off with the camera and wander. It has been a full day. I think about the beauty around me. Red maple leaves, soft pine needles, prayer flags and loons. It could be argued that all hours are golden out here. There is a calm, a comfort, even in times of stress and frustration that ebbs and flows forward. And with it, I find my next photograph.