Among the activities new students at Chatham will engage in this fall during orientation, one will be an activity that I myself did for the first time just a tiny bit ahead of them - last week. Kerri and Lynne, ever the energetic outdoors-women, are kindly crediting me with the idea of a perimeter trail at Eden Hall campus (I scarcely remember saying it, though I *do* really like the idea), which we'll begin with new students. Kerri took the photo when it was ready to walk, and it looks inviting, enchanting, though the end of the trail is just out of sight.
The symbolism here is rich. College is a journey, and sometimes, like now, the faculty are just a step or two ahead of you on the trail. During their four years, they'll find their own path, and hopefully do some marking en route to make it clearer for those who follow. There will be downed trees and poison ivy on the way. There will also be meadows glowing with golden sunlight at the end of sections of dark foliage and thick branches. Blah, blah, blah.
The reality is this: Kerri and Lynne and I worked together for about 2 hours to make perhaps 100 yards of trail, with hoes, clippers, saws, our feet tramping down the path, our hands picking up litter. We laughed and chatted, a merry beginning to a 5 mile job, roughly 528 woman-hours of work to be done. We had a good time and felt proud of ourselves, academics for once doing a job with satisfyingly concrete and visible results.