This weekend something terrible happened. Or at least, that’s what it sounded like from downstairs when fifteen people started screaming their faces off on the floor above. But in fact what was happening was far from tragic. A dozen alumni – students from Summit Semesters past – had just arrived at the lodge, and were being greeted with perhaps too much enthusiasm. This past weekend was Alumni Weekend, and twenty students from past years returned, for a short time, to share in our time at Summit Semester. Despite the anticipation leading up to the weekend, none of the current students really knew what to expect from the alumni's arrival.
It is difficult to understate the importance of story. Stories can expand our world of experience to include a great deal more of the "real world" than we could ever experience in our own lives. They also free us from the constraints of the "real world" and expose us to things not yet imagined which give our lives a new level of depth. In the words of Dr. Donald T. Williams, "A scholar's (or any serious reader's) books are not only the tools of his trade; they are also his environment, his friends, and his security blanket. He never feels quite at home unless they are all displayed on their shelves, surrounding his desk with their familiar, well-worn covers. Though they are legion, he knows the position of each one and can reach out his hand to it almost with his eyes closed. Each has a different role to play, and some play more than one. Some are allies, troops he can muster in support of the Cause. Some are sparring partners against which he sharpens his wits. Some are teachers whose well of wisdom never runs dry. Some are librarians, efficient repositories of information. Some are merely playmates for idle moments. Some take all these roles in turn."
"You don't really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!" (Tolkien, The Hobbit, 303)
We are thirty-seven days into an adventure that we thirty students decided to embark on for our own reasons, but ultimately for the same purpose. If one were to ask what this sole purpose was, it would be best to respond as Dr. Bauman has taught us, which is with another question to help clarify. So, “Why should thirty college students take the time, money, and effort to attend a religious discipleship/college program in a secluded lodge, hidden within the Colorado Mountains, and tucked away among evergreens?”
As week three of our semester here at Snow Wolf Lodge came to a close, we all greatly anticipated the day trip to Ouray, CO, nicknamed the Switzerland of America. All the stories that the staff would tell about the beauty of the landscape caused a desire to drop everything and leave right then and there. The Friday before the trip, we had our first snowfall. This came as a surprise because it was only late September. We have yet to receive the gift of another white blanket as we did that day. This snowfall, however, produced a landscape for the trip ahead we had not dreamed of.