A Sunday Stroll

At least that’s what it was meant to be.

A leisurely walk in Groton State Forest, on a gloriously warm Sunday afternoon.

I had noticed on a map that there were some ponds in the forest that I had never seen. It seemed like the perfect kind of day and a perfect kind of walk to a perfect kind of destination. It didn’t involve steep mountains or climbing up rocks. Just a simple stroll through the woods.

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The trail from the parking lot meandered slowly through the woods and then connected with what’s known as the rail trail. An old railroad bed converted into biking, hiking, and walking trails.

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We had already walked about a mile. I thought the ponds couldn’t be too far away.

On the side of the trail a bog appeared. I knew we must be getting close.

The trail continued. I walked and enjoyed and took pictures. My mind empty of thoughts. Simply enjoying the beauty around me. Noticing signs of change, yet summer still very much around me.

I drank from my water bottle feeling happy and at peace. What a lovely day.

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Walking. And walking. and walking some more. Thinking around each bend in the trail a pond would appear. Another mile passed and then another. I began to wonder. Maybe I couldn’t see the pond from the trail. Maybe it was hidden deeper in the woods. Perhaps the bog had been the pond at one time. Maps are often outdated.

And just as I thought about turning around. It did appear around a bend.

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And it was stunning. Breathtaking. Magnificent.

I kept walking. Savoring and marveling at the water, the reflections, the view.

And then another smaller pond appeared. And it was just as magnificent.

I looked around. The trail connected to a road. And I thought that if I followed it, I would come back out to where the parking lot was, instead of going back the way I had come. And so I continued walking.

After another mile I wondered if I might be heading in the wrong direction. A couple riding their bicycles stopped to chat and I asked “Where does this road lead?”. Marshfield they answered. And I realized it wouldn’t take me back to the parking lot. I would have to go back the way I came.

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So I turned around.

A Sunday stroll of 8 miles. I slept well that night.

Wonderful Words

Preparations for the new school year have begun.

In-service, professional development, and getting ready for the first day of school.

Today, we had a training. It was at another school in our district. I was in the hallway and I happened to look up at the ceiling. There were words up there. Wonderful words. And I thought…this is so amazing. Because the words were ones that I use. And ones that I try to live by. And ones that I aspire to be.

I thought how wonderful it would be to put one of my photos with each word to express what they mean to me.

So here they are…in no particular order.

Believe

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Laugh

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Inquire

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Share

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Trust

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Explore

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Wish

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Discover

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Play

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Imagine

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Smile

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Hope

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Learn

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Dream

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Think

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Succeed

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Admire

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Create

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Appreciate

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Try

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Celebrate

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Achieve

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Blossom

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Encourage

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Love

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I hope that my students will see just how wonderful words can be.

Magical Places

Sometimes, as adults, we forget that the world is still magical. Just as it was when we were children. In our busy and hurried lives, we forget that magic can be found…in many places. We only have to open our eyes and hearts to it.

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Today I found magic.

There is a place. Deep in the Camels Hump State Forest.

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It’s known to the locals as the enchanted forest.

It is enchanted.

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It is quiet and peaceful.

The only sound is your breathing and the beating of your heart.

The path winds through the lush green woods.

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You marvel at the towering trees growing so straight and tall…reaching for the sun.

You can imagine there are fairies and elves living here…in the soft moss of the forest floor.

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Further on you find ancient maples. Some over 200 years old.

Still growing and thriving despite gnarled trunks and decades of harsh winters.

And then a clearing.

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A cottage. Here in the middle of nowhere. And you wonder about the people who built it. And the meaning behind the symbols on the door. And the rock arch.

A magical house in an enchanted forest.

You are captivated. Not wanting to leave.

But you do. And a little of the magic from this place leaves with you.

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Still Waters

Run deep as they say.

I’ve been spending time with still waters.

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This isn’t an easy thing, being still. I am usually always in motion. I have a hard time just sitting…and being still…with both my body and my mind.

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So when I headed up to the house on Lake Champlain this week with my family, I wanted to practice this stillness.

The summer is just about over for me. I return to school next week. Yet this has been an extraordinary summer in so many ways and I wanted to ponder it and how it has seemingly transformed my life.

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There have been many changes. Changes that I have learned from and grown from. Changes that I now see as a blessing and a gift.

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These changes have brought the need to adapt and adjust my beliefs, my feelings and my thinking.

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I have shifted and revised my needs and desires in this life. New and exciting shifts that take me into unchartered waters. Out of my routine and in unknown directions.

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I have dived deeper into my recovery. Working on the hard stuff that has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. Forgiving others and forgiving myself. Moving through and not around the challenges and obstacles I have faced.

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I have rekindled my faith and my spirituality. Letting go of those things I have held onto so tightly and opening myself up to the abundance and beauty of life.

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As I sit in stillness on the shores of this beautiful lake…I feel a sense of renewal. A rebirth and an awakening. Anything and everything is possible.

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Still waters do run deep.

The Adventure Begins

And it begins outside my comfort zone.

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As I embark on this new chapter, as I step into the unknown, as I open my heart to all the possibilities of life, I know it must be different. A new and different direction, a path not yet explored. And this beginning will require courage and strength and hope and passion. It will ask for leaps of faith. It’s time for the adventure of my life.

It started on a sunny day. A hike unlike one I had ever done. I didn’t know this at the time. It sounded like an ordinary place to hike on an ordinary day.

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It was not ordinary. It was steep. It was challenging. It was scary.

It was breathtaking.

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It asked me to push myself, farther and higher.

Up into the clouds where I could see the world.

I realized as I stood at the summit, that I don’t want ordinary anymore. I want extraordinary. I want adventures and journeys. I want possibilities. I want to stand on top of mountains and breathe it all in. I want to awaken every sense, feel every emotion, let my heart expand and embrace, and my spirit be wild and free.

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And so…the adventure begins.