To begin the story at the beginning, read "Part 1: Post 1: Beginning Again," published in January, 2013. To consult a description of the campus, read "Part 1: Post 14: The Greening of Campus," published in March, 2013.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mastery Year 1: Part 2: Post 2: Learning Opportunities

The spring semester has begun...and nothing has changed for me. I still attend my two classes (on alternate Thursday evenings), where I listen to other mastery candidates talk about their trials and challenges, of which I currently have none, apart from having to explain what I learned in grad school to Charlie every week. That is interesting. We're almost done with my entire first year, and it's been an interesting process. I think Charlie's favorite part, so far, has been learning to use the statistical software still on my computer, though there were a few naturalist skills I brought home that were actually new to him, too. Most of his questions are about things he already knows, though. He's just trying to make me figure out how to explain it. Anyway, other than those two duties, I wander around campus, I talk to people, I explore the woods, and I drop in on the occasional workshop. That's it.

June's academic life is a bit more exciting. She has all her graduation requirements met except psychology and magic, though she's decided to work on athletics as well--she met her requirement by playing basketball as an undergrad, and that was a long time ago. So, now she has classes--five of them.

She's taking all of Allen's classes this semester, because she has only one year to meet her psychology requirement--that, plus group therapy, plus Philosopher's Stone Soup, and she's seeing him pretty much every day. She's thinking of asking him to teach her magic, too.

Anyway, so that's Intro to Psychology AND Dark Waters, which sounds like a challenge, because the former is supposed to be a prerequisite to the latter, and also Gender Studies, though of course she's in Kit's section. Remember that Kit and Allen teach that class as single-sex classes that meet together several times.

She's also taking both Personal Safety and Fitness, and Sword with Karen, who is already her athletics master. Neither class has any homework except physical exercise, so it's not an excessive burden. In a week or two she'll start preparing for the summer camp, but for now she has no job to compete with her time.

She's starting to look a bit less lost, a bit more engaged, too. She has friends here, other than me. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm glad she's doing well, of course...but.

Spring has spring. The weather is warm, the birds are singing loudly and often, as are various amphibians, and the main crop of lambs and kids are being born. Campus is full of flowers, mostly the subtle kinds that give people allergies, but also some of the cherries and the blueberries are breaking bud. It's getting to be pretty.

Except that yesterday it snowed. It didn't stick, but for about an hour and a half yesterday, these big, fat flakes falling....

Everyone else was in class, or at work, or something, and I had nothing in particular to do. I'd planned on reading or something, but then when I saw it was snowing, not raining, I ended up spending my time watching the snow fall instead.

I was in the Great Hall, and I was alone, though there were people in the Library and the Office, and sometimes one of them would walk through.The room was dark and silent, but cheery with Ostar decorations--brightly-colored ribbons, wooden candle-holders carved like tulips held unlit beeswax tapers here and there, and bowls of intricately-dyed eggs and blown eggshell trees. New this year are "paintings," framed images made with multi-colored lentils and peas and beans glued to boards. I think they are probably Ebony's work. She's interested in visual art, and the different lentils and things are different sizes, so she could do it. And at least some of them look like her style. Lentils and beans are, of course, seeds, which makes them the plant equivalent of eggs, so they're seasonal that way, and they all have a spring theme. And there are little bowls of jelly beans and chocolate eggs and other little treats.

I sat down next to one of those bowls and ate jelly beans while I watched the snow fall. And I thought about that day years ago, watching the snow fall with Rick and Eddy and Greg and Charlie, talking about devotion, and the phrase "your cell will teach you everything," and how many different kinds of things could work in that role, of teaching everything simply through attention. Greg spoke of his cat, then, thinking the cat might be learning from paying attention to him.

And I thought about that cat, Greg's Cat. The Great Hall seemed emptier without his small self.

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