John Muir said “I heard the mountains calling and I must go.” Today we heard the mountain’s call as we left Nevada and drove toward the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Soon, the voices of the mountains deafened our ears as we changed in elevation, only to be relieved by moving our ears as we changed in elevation, only to be relieved by moving our jaws or chewing gum. At this point, we not only heard their voices but felt their might as we curved around bends, climbed their backs, and rode the brakes down into the next valley.
We hoped to drive through Yosemite, to at least see the mountainous splendor, but the weather blocked that pass, extending our drive by a few hours. These few hours sometimes felt like ages when the roads became so winding that I had to pause my work to prevent carsickness. For others, the difficulty was the fluctuating pressure in their ears, and for some, the winding roads really tested their bladders.
In the evening, we arrived at our destination: Summit Adventure in sunny California, except it was dark by the time we got there. Our arrival made me think of how we got here. Not just the winding roads, but how the people in the group ended up here. From the individual to each year’s ECOEE, not a single one has shared the same path. Each person has a different backstory that is comprised of a multitude of decisions that ultimately led them here. Our group has faced a multitude of unforeseen events that, no matter how straight of a shot it looks on our itinerary, have created this winding path of an adventure we’ve called a semester. Our decisions, both personally and collectively, have woven a patchwork which will become a quilt of our ECOEE 2013 experience.
In Dr. Seuss’s book Oh, the Places You’ll Go, the character goes through the ups and downs, winding and straight that make up life. The ECOEE has certainly felt this character’s winding path, yet it is the journey that matters, not the destination. I end this message with a quote from one of my favorite books:
Your Mountain is waiting, so… get on your way!”