Last week was a week of moving around as most Learners were jumping in the water and swimming and going on hikes. The first day of week three of this cycle was the opposite, we mostly stayed in one place for much of the day. The day started out with Learners trickling in from 9:30 – 10:00 a.m., filling out their intentions, and chatting with each other. Three of the Learners decided to include ‘not die’ in their intentions. We moved out to the field for the morning meeting and in about five minutes we covered a prompt and the practices we were going to focus on that day. During announcements, I offered to discuss a New York Times article (that I had not yet reviewed) about white supremacy at 1:00 p.m., as one Learner asked me what white supremacy was last week, and another Learner and I talked about white supremacy in the military. Then we moved onto a charades-like game, where two Learners needed to act out a scene for everyone else to guess. There were no teams or points being awarded, however, if no one could figure out the scene, the pair would get another turn. It was a pretty fun game, except one Learner got a bunch of bug bites on his legs after pretending to be a worm in one skit.

After everyone got their shot to perform in a scene, including me, the Learners decided they wanted to head straight to the lake. During the walk to the lake I checked in with a Learner to see how she was doing and to hear how progress was going with the comic she was working on. When we arrived at the lake some Learners headed straight for the dock where they planted themselves, and the rest of us found spots beneath the trees in the shade. The weather was beautiful and it was getting warm quickly, so I assumed that Learners would soon be jumping in the water.

I set up in my chair and had planned to dive into Akilah S. Richards’ Raising Free People in preparation for a discussion with Akilah on the Agile Learning Centers weekly book group meeting, the next evening. Then one of the Learners came over to chat with me about the causes of schizophrenia (genetic or environment), and that conversation led into a discussion of the ways that we can change our lifestyles that can help tilt the odds in favor or away from a wide range of diagnoses and outcomes. I then checked in on the Abrome and ALF Slack channels and before I knew it I hadn’t read anything and it was time for the conversation on white supremacy.


Some Learners opted into a discussion about White Supremacy

Two Learners opted in, and I began to read the article to them. Because we were socially distanced and I had a mask on, reading the article to them was harder than I anticipated. Next time I will bring printouts for others to read. There were a few question along the way, such as, “why is July 4th a white supremacist holiday?” In our discussion we went on some tangents, debated whether white supremacy was the appropriate phrase to use to describe the systems that exist (the article revolved around whether the word was appropriate or effective), and then I heard out their frustrations about racism in society and how unfair it is.


Can you find the water moccasin?

Other than that, the Learners spent most of the day talking to each other or working on their own projects. I spent some of my time just observing what was around me. I saw squirrels darting around with acorns, beetles fighting or procreating, turtles sunning, fish jumping, and flies and ants occasionally coming to say hello to me. At one point I went back to the drop-off location to refill my water bottle, and on the way back, staring into my phone, I was startled by something moving just off the trail to my left. I assumed I had startled a squirrel but I jumped back a little when I saw a large snake sitting there. He wanted as little to do with me as I did him, and he began to move away from the trail and toward the water. I squatted down to get a better look at him and by the shape of his head I thought that maybe it was a water moccasin (it was). When I returned to the lake I shared my story with the Learners and they said that it sounded like one of the snakes they came across on Friday.

The less imposing snake the Learners stumbled upon

A less imposing snake the Learners stumbled upon on Friday

As the day was winding down I was able to read some of my book, but 3:30 p.m. came quickly, so we vacated the dock and held our meeting in the field, with the sun beating down on us. We reviewed our day and our practices, and saw room for improvement on both the staying hydrated and social distancing related awarenesses. After the meeting, two of us decided to run along the retaining wall again. The first Learner took off and made it about half way before losing her balance and jumping away from the lake. I then gave it a shot and made it about a third of the way when I hit a wet part of the wall and my feet gave out from under me and I flew forward, landing on my butt, but somehow not falling in the lake. It was graceful, I’m sure, and I had quite an audience. Maybe a day of staying in place wasn’t such a bad idea after all.