Dear Boundless Families:
The northwest wind has blown the stickiness and the pesky Deer Flies away. Our fields are strewn with yellow flowers. Snowshoe hares, especially the babies, have lost their fear of people and will almost eat out of the palm of your hand. This place is all buttercups and bunnies right now.
I was speculating with a student about why the rabbits dare come so close.
Pretending to be armchair biologists, we theorized that grasses and other succulents abound on the Ranch lawns, and it’s easier to get your energy in an open field than in the forest. But more tellingly, predators like foxes and birds of prey stay the heck away from the action of the Ranch.
Being predator-free is the key. And so the bunnies lose their fear. They get audacious.
And this is what is happening with your kids. This school is free from predators and your kids are reaping the dividends.
They have let loose their idiosyncrasies. Freak flags are flying at full mast. And so there is joy. Kids have bought in. They feel safe where it counts – emotionally. They feel fear in the proper arena – the river. This is how it should be.
When kids are plopped into a new group, it’s like a forest fight for sunlight. Teens jostle for their position in the sun. And they are finding that place.
They are busy. Some days it’s whitewater training for 8 hours. Their big expedition looms. They are figuring out how to support each other. This matters. A few kids are struggling to find their mojo. These same kids are finding themselves awash in peer support. Its allure is hard to resist.
Tomorrow, the Seniors head to the Dumoine River in Quebec for their 60km journey through 58 sets of rapids, waterfalls, portages and tear-inducing beauty. Many of them are oblivious to how stunning it is. Their attention is focused on more hormonal pursuits. But the butterflies and boisterous skies have their unconscious impact nevertheless.
The Juniors will be one day behind them on exactly the same trip. This, too, is audacious.
It is often felt around here that the Dumoine is a tad too ambitious for young-uns. But their trip leader – Trevor – will have none of it. “My guys can handle anything” he boasts. He’s a kid himself trapped in a 33 year old body. While he has the mortgage, the machismo and the mundanity of any self-respecting adult male, the kids see through this. They know he is just as much a delightful lunatic as the rest of them.
Like the appalling radio silence all the loved ones of Apollo astronauts had to endure when they re-entered earth’s atmosphere, all of you will have to cope with the same. While both groups will have Sat phones and obscenely large first aid kids, they will be on their own. No news is regarded as good news when they are wilderness gonzo.
Wish them luck!