Back at GCE after a “Summer in a Day,”* or so it feels given the fact that it’s July 6th and our staff has returned to full-time work. Our schedule today was simple:

• Welcome
• Big Picture
• HR
• Facilitated reading and discussion
• Closure

The afternoon exercise was facilitated by Adam Davis, Director of the Center for Civic Reflection. We discussed teachers who effected us, read “Axe Handles,” by Gary Snyder, and talked for a while about the poem. We thought about ourselves and our experiences with learning. We traded perceptions about teaching and were challenged to consider the relevance of words such as prune, cut, trim, and manipulate.

The activity reinforced the elements of inspiration, yearning, knowledge gathering, relevance, and ultimately, purpose. I am left wanting more — and there’ll be plenty of it during the next 8 weeks — but I’m also left holding a tool that I’ve not yet mastered and wondering: how will GCE use its tools to expose the essence of a lesson and strip away everything else?

*Ray Bradbury’s classic and terrifying short story