I’ve just returned from an amazing – what shall I call it? A Retreat? Summer Camp for Geeks? Educator Rehab? Not quite sure yet, but one thing for sure, being unplugged for a few days allowed for some incredible face-to-face interaction that has been missing for me for some time. The event was Unplug’d 12 held at the most-beautiful site called Northern Edge Algonquin, known for its retreat and/or adventure facilities that are outstanding!
photo by cogdogblog on Flickr
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting during my return trip from there and I will be posting quite a bit as the thoughts percolate to the surface, but for now, with the indulgence of anyone who reads this, I would like to ponder the metaphor of the edge – a word we used frequently during this event.
For me, the word edge can mean many things depending on its context:
- danger! edges of knives, shards of broken glass, cliffs, diving platforms – scary things and places that make us take risks, with varying degrees of potential for harm. Depending on your point of view, trying anything new might mean “living on the edge” – a scary, dangerous place
- transition from one place to another – my favourite place to walk at home is along the edges of our fields – this is where the wild things grow, where there are so many uncultivated plants so unlike the monoculture of the wheat, corn, or soybeans that exist along side. Other transitions include dusk and dawn, rural/urban, private spaces/public spaces etc.
- adventure to those who find “living on the edge” to be exhilarating, renewing, surmountable. Innovators and explorers always push the edge further back as they show us that the danger really wasn’t there after all
So Unplug’d 12 at Northern Edge may have been a place to experience all three of these. Dangerous risk taking for some of us who weren’t really sure what we were getting in to when we applied and walked into the reception at the Westin on our first evening together. A transition for some, who were beginning careers, retiring from others, adjusting to new living arrangements, leaving higher education (for now) – Unplug’d was an opportunity to reflect on these edges between the past and the future. For some, it was an adventure, not only through the physical activities we enjoyed, but through meeting new people, hearing new stories, stretching our own knowledge and skills we will take back with us.
The Edge – a word that will evoke a lot of memories and meanings from now on every time I hear it.
Now to sit on the edge and consider what else is percolating!