Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Junior Jack Langerman Revives TMS Nature Trail

Have you ever noticed the occasional dilapidated sign leaning sadly near a tree at TMS? Well, those signs were the remnants of our nature trail, which had fallen into disrepair. The long-forgotten nature trail has gotten a new face lift under the leadership of junior Jack Langerman, who decided to renovate the trail to satisfy the leadership requirement of his Boy Scout Eagle award.

Students, faculty and family members spent well over 150 man and woman-hours clearing the old trail, identifying trees and painting more than 56 signs. Some of Jack's former dorm mates from Putney School's G-Haus even joined in on the project!

Now community members and visitors will be able to tell a Black Locust from a High Bush Blueberry. All identifications were kindly confirmed by a former faculty member and retired forester. Look for the Trail Head behind the office where you'll find the trail map and a list of featured flora. Enjoy your walk!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Meeting School Graduation 2009

"You, who are on the road,
Must have a code that you can live by
And so, become yourself
Because the past is just a goodbye"
-Graham Nash

The Meeting School graduated five students this morning: Jack A. Stewart, Sarah "Faith" Margaret Jochum, Robert Roy Farmer, Burch Davis, and Luke Langdon Brown.

At about 10 am, after singing several songs together, the community settled into meeting for worship listening to the sounds of birds chirping and flying about in the rafters of the barn. One by one, friends and family stood to talk about the graduates, and the meaning of both the day and the role TMS has played in the graduates' lives.

The challenges students and faculty at TMS faced over the past year were acknowledged in several of the reflections and in the song selections.

"Sometimes, in our lives
We all have pain, we all have sorrow
But, if we are wise, we know that there is always tomorrow"
-Bill Withers

The themes of love and letting go were also prevalent. Faith's mother spoke of her daughter as "breaking the rules in a way to change the world." Luke's father meditated on a line from the graduation opening song by Dylan - "The Times They Are Changin' - "And don't criticize what you don't understand/Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command."

After meeting the minutes for each graduate were read. It was here that I, as a newcomer to the school community, felt the celebration and appreciation of these young people not just as students, but as whole human beings:

Jack, punk in plaid, his appreciation of Black Flag, and his love of simple pleasures and nature; Faith, her acceptance of others, and early to bed and rise, her love of social justice and homeopathy; Robert, his love of art, nature and philosophy; Birch (his minute was read as a rap and I didn't get it all) - something about potatoes, chillin' with Elijah, and guaranteed to fly wherever he lands; and Luke, with his logical mind, and encouragement to look inward to be great.

"There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and dark of night
And where you go, no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone"

Jack, Faith, Robert, Burch and Luke - congratulations on achieving this milestone, and we wish you well as you take your next steps in the world.

Today was experienced by different people in many different and very personal ways - we encourage you to post your thoughts and feelings (and pictures) about the day!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Farm Olympics 2009

Faculty and students participated in the annual Farm Olympics. Feats of strength, agility, balance and humor were tested in a variety of activities, including a rope climb, hay bale toss, obstacle course, tug of war, and the "tractor gawk." To the best of this blogger's intel, Abel won the rope climb. Farmer Jay won hay bale toss - though it was very close with last year's winner Robert. The obstacle course relay, which involved eggs on spoons, buckets of water, and more hay bales, was won by Team #1 (you know who you are).

For those readers unfamiliar with the tractor gawk, it is an opportunity for community members to perform a character sketch in the presence of the beloved TMS tractor. Sheila won, playing an old gal lamenting about how "tractors used to be."

After a two-year drought, students beat the faculty - "creamed us," as one faculty member (who shall remain anonymous) put it. Students, feeling sorry for the lack of faculty prowess, agreed to put their four finest against about a dozen faculty members - luckily, they won this round.