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Just off the Port Bow—a place of uncertainty, adventure, and insight. Thank you for your ears, eyes and hearts. I hope to bring compassion, grace and beauty to your day.

First Days...All Days

Forty six years ago, sometime this month, I drove north from Pottstown, PA to Williamstown to begin my freshman year at Williams College. Twenty years ago I drove our younger son to Williamstown from Florida to reprise his father's earlier adventure. Yesterday I drove through Williamstown, witnessing the arrival of the newest batch of first year students at Williams.

We have lived and worked near Williamstown for over thirteen years, and every year make the same remark; to wit, "I am sure glad that I am not beginning college!!!"

One could argue that college days are the best days in a young person's life: freedom, adventure, focused and creative learning, opportunity and camaraderie. I certainly had a good experience at Williams, though being a good student was not necessarily a part of that experience.

Here's what I remember from those "First Days".

I came from a boarding school, and so was used to the idea of living away from home. I was also used to wearing a sport coat at all times (and a tie) and recall showing up at a meeting of our dorm entry so attired. I wasn't the only one. We preppies signaled our shared dress code rules by promptly doffing our jackets and sitting on them. That was then.

I came to Williams in my own car. My parents did not drive me. Having a car was against the rules, but my fears of being driven around by anyone else (a best friend from prep school had been killed in a car accident just that summer) trumped my steadfast desire to follow the rules. Having a car as a freshman meant that I was quickly identified as the person who could transport 18 year olds over the state line to nearby New York to purchase legal booze. My steadfast desire to follow the rules made that a one time arrangement.

I remember the freshman dining room, the trips to the bookstore to buy piles of books I would never look at, and the mind-numbing (mine, at least) drill of attending class. The mind-numbing dynamic had nothing to do with the classes themselves and everything to do with my own inner development.

I did attend the first week meeting of The Chapel Board, held at a picnic at the Episcopal Church across the street from my dorm. Little did I know that in a few months I would be charting a course toward ordination in that church, and that I would spend most of my four Williams years doing more church things than college things.

Little did I know, back in September of 1969 that in a little less than three years I would be getting married and living in an apartment 100 feet from my freshman dormitory.

I have been trying to get in touch with the inner feelings I experienced in those First Days: the anxiety, excitement, dread, stimulation, freedom, and mind-numbing. It would be an exaggeration to assert that I feel the same All Days. I don't. It is fair to say that all those First Days feelings are still in me, and are very familiar.

I don't want to turn the clock back. I do want to live into all the feelings of those First Days without falling into that mind-numbed pattern.

My new "career" of designing websites is an opportunity to do First Days in a fresh context. How serendipitous and wonderful that I get to do it in virtual spitting distance from Williamstown. Talk about recapitulation!


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Location:Williamstown, MA

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