COUNTDOWN – 23 DAYS!
It sure was a rainy day today. I thought so often of those on the trail – either walking in the rain and making the most of the muddy trail or huddled in a shelter trying to stay dry and passing the day hoping for a break in the showers. Having a warm office and hearing the rain pound against my window makes me happy to be still planning the hike and not currently hoofing on the Appalachian Trail.
Although I did not hike to work today, I did wear my backpack….to talk to the Kindergarten students at the Dayton Campus. We have four Kindergarten class and about 50 students enrolled. The teachers combined the students into one classroom and invited me to come and share about my hike. I was a little nervous that the students might file into the classroom, take a seat on the floor, and the teachers smile, wave, leave, and quip, “Thanks, we’ll see you in about half an hour!” But, to my relief, all four teachers stayed and helped with the students.
I decided to open up my backpack and share with the kiddos some of my gear and some of the challenges of carrying all my stuff on my back for over 100 days. I told them about my trekking poles, my camp chair (although I may not take this on the AT), my coat that doubles as a pillow, my rain gear (including my backpack cover), my tent, and my sleeping bag. I made them laugh a little bit by letting a few of them try on my heavy pack, by putting on my mosquito-net jacket, by relaxing in my chair, and by tossing out parts of my gear for various students to hold.
The students got excited, they got loud, they got enthusiastic – it probably drove the teachers crazy, but I thought it was great fun. No one fell asleep, no one got hurt, no one cried, no one freaked-out (too much). The boys and girls watched carefully and with great interest in every item I pulled out of my bag. There was noise, occasionally they all talked at the same time (some louder than others), they all raised their hands while they were talking and they all volunteered to try on my backpack – all in all I was pleased with that!
I might not be invited back because of the chaos I created (the students were pretty pumped up), but I had a great time unpacking my bag for the 5 year-olds. My grandson was in the class so it made it doubly special for me. Many of the students thanked me for coming and blessed me with their smiles.