Today is going to be an amazing day and it marks several milestones.
- It is the first week of my summer break,
- It’s the last day of May,
- It’s been over eleven weeks our state closed schools until early April, then early May, and finally for the year,
- I’ve been living and working by the lake for nine weeks,
- It’s been five weeks since my last post, AND
- I’ve been blogging for ten years and two days.
It’s also the last day of my Coronavirus protest beard. The last day I shaved was the last day I went to school – Friday, March 13th. When began my protest, I anticipated being back in school in a few weeks. Today, after I press ‘publish,’ the beard goes.
The final day of the 2019-20 school year ended Wednesday. It ended awkwardly and with uncertainty. Many of my students embraced shift to e-Learning, but sadly many did not. The ones who did are the students who had good habits and strong learning skills. The ones who didn’t, are the students who need the routine of school and even with being in the classroom these students struggle with learning or completing learning tasks. Looking back, it’s these students who are the reason I gravitated to teaching and middle school. I was one of those students who struggled in the classroom in middle school and early high school. It wasn’t until I was a junior that I figured it out.
Summer break began Thursday morning but living along the lake for nine weeks has allowed me to enjoy the benefits of remote teaching and learning remotely as well as the benefits of summer break while living and working. I’ve been fortunate to take advantage of the wilderness around us – the forest, the lake, and walking and hiking trails. I’ve taken some amazing walks through the forest trails, along the river, and along the lake shore. Most of all it’s the movement and the freshness of the air that has lifted me in the isolation of quarantine. It’s the balance of nature rising with the sun and resting with the sun’s setting that has made the biggest difference over the past elven weeks.
It’s been five weeks since my last published post, but I’ve started writing posts, stopped and didn’t finish. Mostly because I had teaching – preparing, assessing, and communicating – my primary job that took precedence. I have other jobs which kept me from writing – husband, father, son, brother, friend, dog owner, and self and each of those had multiple tasks – cook, housekeeper, and gardener to name only a few of the many roles I (we all) take on and try to keep balanced.
Walking and Hiking
Since the quarantine began, I’ve been walking and hiking more. Surely the weather has been a factor as spring began and temperatures became warmer and the days got longer.
Hartwick Pines State Park is a short drive from the lake, and I’ve enjoyed the many hiking trails through the park. My favorite hike is the shortest hikes – a little less than two miles, but it’s the most peaceful, even though it’s likely the most popular trail in the park. The hiking trail is through a virgin pine forest and there is a chapel along the route to pause and reflect. The trail passes through a former logging camp constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
This past Friday my wife and I visited Empire Beach and Sleeping Bear Dunes. It was a side adventure and completely unplanned, but it was terrific. The trip to Empire was late afternoon and we walked the beach looking for stones and enjoying the sunshine and the sound of the gentle waves washing ashore.
We arrived at the dune climb at Sleeping Bear Dunes a little after six in the evening and decided to give the sand dune hoping for a view of Lake Michigan. The first dune was the steepest and my wife quickly discovered it was easier using the footsteps of climbers who had gone before us.
That’s an important lesson to remember, use the people who have gone before you.
“If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants.” ― Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
We reached the top of the first dune and realized there were more dunes to traverse before we could get a view of Lake Michigan. However, we had an amazing view of Glen Lake. What we didn’t realize was there were a lot more dunes to climb before we could see the lake. We learned the trail was marked with numbered signposts and we stopped at hiking and climbing at signpost #7 when we had a view of the lake and a couple of offshore islands. It was a great way to spend time together encouraging one another to continue moving forward. We mutually agreed to stop and hike back to the starting point. We finished the day with takeout pizza before driving home.
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a friend. We were talking about our fathers – they share a birthdate – May 20, 1933 – and both having passed away many years before. We were also talking about teaching remotely, teaching in general, and baseball when I heard the loud airplane engine. I looked up and saw the airplane climbing and banking over our lake house. At first glance, it appeared to be a float plane, but on closer investigation the airplane was a firefighting plane. The airplane, really four of them, were skimming the lake’s surface taking in water and flying to a grass fire, dumping the water over the fire, and returning. The planes made several trips before the fire was extinguished after consuming over a hundred acres and several buildings – but thankfully no homes.
There have been more hikes and walks to recount. My quarantine has been marked by many home cooked meals overlooking the lake watching the sunset. Chicken, beef, pork, salads, and a lot of leftovers but the solitude of nature has permeated my stay at the lake.
Today is the first post of my eleventh year of the blog. Like several bloggers I follow or followed, I’ve entertained stopping. But I plan to continue blogging simply because I enjoy writing and the interaction with those who read Making the Days Count dot org. Year eleven will mark change for me as each year has marked change before it.
Change is constant. But if I follow in the footsteps of those who’ve gone before me my journey will be easier and I will be able to see further. So, I had better wrap up this post and get a start on the day before the day starts on me. Today is going to be an amazing day – a great day, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, starting with a blogpost, then a shave.
Did you have a ‘protest’ during the quarantine? What was it?