Day 4: Tuesday, June 24th

Sometimes you have to get so tired — you have to so completely bump up against your body’s limitations — to be able to overcome those limitations, feel good about the success, and develop new ones.

That lovely sentiment being said — I am really tired.  Many of us are.  The organizers must have known that this would happen, and they scheduled today to be one of reflection.  No readings.  No required meetings.  No lectures.  Just the option to engage in individual and/or group reflection.  To retreat to somewhere for contemplation, introspection, and relaxation.

Several retreat options were made available to us if we so desired some structure to this process.  One involved a morning trip to the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center & Wildlife Sanctuary.  Since a) I love all things nature and b) we have been cooped up here for days now, I jumped at the chance to just go for a walk in the woods.  The goal, of course, was to have us reflect on our relationship with nature and what the walk could help us comprehend about the sacred, the divine, the holiness of creation.

I just wanted to be in woods, among the birds and snakes and insects and flowers and trees.  To feel the wind in my hair, and to hear it dance through the dappled light of the forest.  I needed to touch trees and dirt and leaves and stones.  I like living in a city — especially Oak Park, which lives up to its name through all of its trees — but I will always be a country girl at heart, and my heart frequently needs contact with the forest to refresh itself.

So I wandered, happily, taking pictures and talking to the birds and the snake I saw.  I did reflect upon how there is more to be seen than can ever be seen (thank you The Lion King!), which is probably a metaphor or statement on life.  As an individual, we are limited as to what we can see, hear, learn, know.  But as a collective, we can commune, communicate, share our individual experiences, and thereby create a more unified and complete understanding of life, the universe, and everything (thank you Douglas Adams!).  And perhaps that is why I am so into communication: because it is our way to know and create the whole of reality.

Here are some of the pictures from my walk for your perusal.  If you would care to peruse them all, then you can find them here.

A giant oak doing yoga in the summer sun.
The quintessential babbling brook.
The path about to be taken.
The path just taken.
The beavers’ logjam.
Beaver bites.
A holy tree.
Happy hiker.
Fern gullet.
Impromptu hiking shoes succeeding.
A brook runs through it.


Day 1 is here.

Day 2 is here.

Day 3 is here.

Day 5 is here.

Final Day is here.

5 responses to “An Autoethnography of Collegium – Day Four”

  1. An Autoethnography of Collegium – Day Five | Playing, With Research Avatar

    […] has been day five with another full day to go.  Aside from a two-hour retreat yesterday to a wildlife sanctuary, we have been on this beautiful campus of College of the Holy Cross.  While the college is near […]


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