Blogs - Summit Semester
September 29, 2008
Fish, 14ers, and Family
As the scribe most recently chosen to update, I shall to my utmost best recall for you the events of this past weekend. Summit has been a time of learning, of new experiences, of difficulties to be overcome, and this weekend was to follow in its footsteps. We started out on Friday with a lesson in John Stuart Mill's policy which sytematically were ripping apart with the help of Stephens and Kendall - two guys who saw the fish well. We also read through Philip Sydney's "The Arcadia," discussing the meaning of love as portrayed in the story. That was an interesting class.
The fish. Well, that would be an illustration given us by none other than Dr. Bauman for the way of studying any given topic. It came from a story he read to us last week about a student whose sole assignment was to come up with new things about a preserved fish using only his eyes, his hands, and a pencil. This study went on for days, and even when he thought he couldn't possibly find another new thing, something appeared to him. For us, this translates to how we look at policies, literature, questions, definitions - the possibilities are endless. This is not a quickly developed skill but one that must be worked...so working at it we are.
After lunch on Friday, thirteen of us scurried around, making sure we had all the essentials for two days in the wilderness. The object? To successfully conquer 14,048 foot Mt. Handies. After a most memorable three hour drive, partially via a bone-jarring, interior-shaking, very long dirt road (which had on one side a rock face and on the other a rather nice straight drop off), we packed up all those neccessities about a mile to where we finally decided on a place to camp. Having never gone backpacking before, it was a chance for me to learn new skills such as firewood gathering, water filtering, and how to properly roast thick slices of mozzerella cheese on a stick over the campfire. As is our custom, the evening both during and after dinner was filled with humor and solemnity, as we told stories, laughed, and continued asking the deep questions of each other. We have been focusing a lot on art and beauty, but also "Why are you here?" and "What are you trying to get out of (whatever experience)?" As spectacular as the stars are from here at Snow Wolf Lodge, it was even more so in that small valley between the mountains. You feel so small and insignificant looking up at the vast expanse of the heavens, but it's a good feeling, too.
Saturday morning brought the three mile trek up the rest of the mountain. After confirming the presence of water, snacks, cameras, and layer upon layer of clothing, we left. It fell to me to protect the group from any surprise ambushes from the rear. I just don't do the race to the top thing, you know? For the most part, Ryan, Suzanne, Jeff, and I hung out together as we marched, and it was cool to get to know them better. As we neared the top it began to snow what seemed to be unflavored Dippin' Dots - Ryan and I paused momentarily to make snow cones. The entire group was up by 10:30am, about two and a half hours of hiking and 400+ pictures later. The view from the summit was simply breathtaking. The surrounding lakes, mountains, open skies, contrasting colors of the snow and the turning aspens below; we could have stayed there for a while. But due to the ensuing blizzard forecasted by cold, biting wind and thunder in the distance, our stay was shortened considerably. We hung around long enough to sign our names to the paper on the top and take pictures, and then commenced the long hike down. Ice is frightening when on the side of a cliff, but with a little help from friends, we all made it down safely. Making new trails through the pine forest followed a small side trip up a smaller mountain to see a lake before heading back to camp to pack up and head home. Thanks to Shun-Luoi and Suzanne for the amazing trip.
While our thirteen member troop expanded Summit Semester territory in the mountains, the rest of our team was pulling off a stealth attack on the city of Pagosa Springs. They infiltrated various (and numerous) businesses, learning the weaknesses of them. So they went shopping all day, used the internet, and pretty much sat around while we discovered forgotten muscles in our lower extremities. Somehow I don't find the experiences to be equal...
Though the one member from the Table Rock room that joined us on the hike refused to carry their four foot plastic Santa (see entry on Sept. 12) with him to the mountain, Santa has recently joined us in the classroom. Monday was his first class day, and already he holds a delinquent reputation for withholding his comment on a matter brought up by Dr. Bauman. He has, however, provided a new level of examples and comparison/contrasts in art class, where (this week) we dicussed semiotics.
As we grow closer as a family we have had to learn to trust each other. This trust is something that I've been working at, and the other students and the staff have been great. Whether it be in merely knowing that I can express my opinion freely on a matter or that I can trust their judgement in where to place my foot on the ice and shale pathway, I have gained a level of shared confidence in the godly people here. It will be even more crucial for us as a community to strengthen this bond of trust as the weeks and months go on, and I look forward to growing closer to the people I have come to know, love and trust.