My metaphor for this year is trees.
I talked about trees in my opening chapel talk with both staff and our graduates, and my plan is to share some of my thinking here in this blog as well.
Why trees? I am in awe by the beauty of trees, the resilience of trees, and the way they are used to inspire creativity. In and of themselves, trees are beautiful, and we are fortunate to have a campus full of them! When I ask people who are new to the Grove about their first impressions of our school, most people say something related to the beauty of our campus, and trees in particular.
Our school, where we study – and for about 300 of us, where we live – is somewhere that is beautiful. This campus is a gift! No matter the season, no matter if we stare from our windows or take a walk or ski in the woods, we are lucky to have a campus with varying types and ages of gorgeous trees.
As part of my research on trees, I studied our Lakefield history. Our big trees have been around for a century or more. They have provided shade, beauty, warmth and seeds for a new generation of trees. Many of them have a special background:
- The young oak tree across from Moodie House was named in memory of Tim Dunn. The Dunn’s are related to the Moodies (as in the original settler Susannah Moodie) and they provided the funding to build Moodie House and fix it after the fire. The Dunn’s are one of only a few four-generational families to have attended Lakefield College School.
- There is a dedicated tree across from Rashleigh in honour of Ken Sunderland who retired about 5 years ago.
- And then there are the three larger planted trees in the Grove tree circle and all are special.
- The west one was planted to begin reforestation of the Grove in 1992, after the library building was completed.
- The east one is named after Paige Wadsworth, and the inscription reads: It is a privilege to serve.
- The south one is named for Beef Carr-Harris, a former chair of the board, and that inscription reads: Beef loved the school as he loved life.
Given the age of our trees and all that they have seen and heard, I think of our trees as keepers of our culture. I’ve been told that when alumni come back and drive onto the campus and see the trees, this feeling wells up inside that they can’t describe. But it’s home. We know that there is something about this place that we cannot quite describe… something that is special, magical.
What I hope for all of us – staff and students – is that when we look at our trees, that we pause and try to hold on to that good feeling that comes from time in nature. Sometimes when life gets messy – and it gets messy in high school – we need to take a moment to remember this goodness… to proactively seek it out.
May our trees remind us to do that, this year, and always.