Some thoughts… I’ve been on staff since 1998…. I don’t remember a group of students so willing to come out of the chute running full speed like this class did…
The first small group I sat with was warmed up before we started… I was assigned to another group later that night and was disappointed to be leaving the 1st group even tho we had been together for maybe 1/2 hour….
I struggled with saying goodbye to groups, even as they were being formed… I felt so connected…especially with the public defenders and young solos who are out on their own and alone, like i was in 1973…. I was immediately proud to know them and worried about the difficulties ahead that they will face in their professional lives….. Some that they can’t imagine yet…. I’m feeling very parental and protective of these young warriors..i guess my age is showing in mysterious ways….
I was beginning to think I would not experience a “tlc” moment in small group, but sure enough, in the last small group in the rec room, Connie and I watched a student become a talking cement ramp…..the student transformation was quite remarkable, as it usually is…and was appreciated by all of those in the group….they got it” and i was fulfilled….then the fun of the Dubois rodeo and a tlc team beating the “cowboys” at their own game was the cherry on top….saying good bye and leaving thunderhead was especially difficult for me this time.. I sometimes feel that my “in the moment” experiences might never be repeated…. I wonder if I’ll ever be back to thunderhead….or see my good friends ever again….or meet a new class, or participate in a large or small group…or if I will ever again make my moose call in the big barn …………when i got home i thought of the July 2012 class every day…..wondered how they were doing…..how much they were learning, laughing, crying, living….. I wanted to fly back out for graduation and think i would have except that my family became and still is the subject of a credible threat by an angry, heavily armed, psychotic individual …….needless to say, I’m staying close to family and home……….
Finally, I need to say that on my last day, when we all gathered in the big barn to say good bye, I experienced a feeling like I’ve never experienced in my entire life of 65 years…. I was the last staff member to be called…. I was at the end of the line and when Jim introduced…”Paulie d’…………….the most wonderful thing happened… The entire class spontaneously made low, harmonious moose calls to me…………it was amazing… I can only describe the feeling as like I was being recognized and honored by an entire herd of moose….they were my moose family….and they were showing me their approval….i was being verified and they were saying goodbye in their moose way….i was touched like I had never been touched before… I want to thank the entire class for bestowing that honor upon me…. I’ll never forget that moment….
For the finish… I hope to make it back, meet new warriors and visit with old ones….