“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
In 1864, The “Father of Mountains” took to the swamps of Wisconsin to search for the rarest and most beautiful orchid. He embarked on a long and lonely excursion through streams, bogsand over many fallen trees. As the days went on, he became ever so discouraged at the thought of not reaching his sought-after flower. Yet, just before dusk, he found the captivating Calypso,on a mossy bank, with one small leaf, and one pure snow flower of a bulb. Muir remarked that it seemed so wonderful that such a frail and quiet object had such power on the human heart. He sat through the cold and darkness just to have a moment in the flower’s company, and cried for joy.
I shared this story with our students this week. I’m not sure if any of them currently have the capacity to shed a tear over the sight of a flower, but I offered the story as a way to encourage each of our students to make an extra effort to appreciate the smaller things in life. Here on campus, our daily routine can sometimes feel like a machine and when running smoothly, our higher functioning students can coast through a day meeting all expectations without much distraction. This thought, encouraged me to offer a reminder that each of us should make the effort to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. After reading the John Muir story, we took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and went treasure hunting in the woods that surround campus.
Ironwood’s academic team has created quite a culture of book worms here on campus. All this week, I have heard conversations surrounding the many books that are being “devoured” by our students. The dinner table offers an appropriate place for many to discuss the topics and story lines being read and enjoyed. From the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, to Unbroken, and even the classic self-help book, How to Make Friends and Influence People…books from many genres and categories are starting to capture our student’s imagination.
In “Experiential Group” this week, we tied up all of our students…so to speak. 😊 This fun and entertaining activity allowed teams of two to think creatively, work together as a team, and also have a few laughs. Small loops were made of string that were then put onto the hands of each student. The two students crossed their strings and had to figure out how to un-cross them, without taking their hands out of the loops. Our supervising therapist shared that in several years of leading this activity, only 3 had ever solved the challenge. No student solved it this week, but all have gained practice working as a cooperative team.
While we may never find the rarest object around each corner, there is typically something to be gained with every experience, here on campus. As we approach Family Weekend, we want to wish all parents, siblings, grandparents and other family members a restful and safe weekend. Thank you for placing your trust in Ironwood.