Month: February 2013

billyfort

It seems the older I get, the farther back in life I go to look at times I had it “all figured out.” Today I reflect upon one of my most treasured childhood memories and my first marriage proposal. I was 6 years old…

As a child, well before WiFi was even an idea, we spent our summers on an island in the Adirondacks only accessible by boat with a rustic cabin deliberately absent of electricity or running water. The adventure of it all was profound. Even better, I knew I would see my best friend, Billy. Although Billy and I disappeared into the woods the moment we stepped ashore, there was something this island brought out in the rest of my family I treasured as well. Each in a different way, we accessed a peace and connection otherwise tough to find in the day to day shuffle and scuffle of family life. We had to eat, so the grown-ups knew we’d all be together at mealtimes.

The memory I treasure was spending hours constructing a shelter/fort on the edge of Bear Pond where the rowboat was docked. We couldn’t google “fort building” at that time so we were left to our imaginations, our spirit for “survival,” and the untouchable joy of convincing ourselves we had everything we needed to live forever in that spot. In fact, he proposed that we get married and stay there. 37 years later, the memory is as rich and vivid as if it was present day. What we knew then was that we had the key ingredients for our survival: 1) a place to call our own, 2) a rowboat to travel “wherever” we wanted, 3) some handmade tools and “weapons” to get food, and 4) a connection, adoration, and friendship that gave us freedom and content.

I am stunned at how far we allow ourselves to wander from the simplicities and essentials that bring connection and contentment. Amidst the pressure, the constant input of external stimuli, and speed at which life occurs, I relish the treasures lodged in the mind of that 6-year-old that re-introduce myself to me. I may spend some more time here…

Brian3

As fate and luck would have it, Brian returned summer after summer to continue impacting the lives of youth as well as the lives of his colleagues. He grew in talent and the application of his teaching skills and passions were clear to all.

At the beginning of one of his last summers with Adventure Links, he met a lovely young lady as a fellow staff member. Appropriately, their first date was whitewater kayaking on the Staircase in Harpers Ferry. That young lady accepted and has created years of adventure with Brian and it is with pride and happiness that they announced their engagement! Our community of friends and staff will come together from far away to celebrate this serendipitous journey.

I was also able to experience the proudest reference call of my career. Brian was interviewing to be an elementary school teacher and three different schools were hoping they would be the school he selected. Notice… not the other way around. Brian’s love for teaching, competency, and potential were so clear that all three principals were determined to have Brian on their team. With so many changes and beginnings for Brian, it is with deep sentiment and honor to have been, and continue to be a part of this amazing life journey.