By Balarama Betts, LWS Teacher
This article is the last in a 4-part series on Flow Learning. These 4 stages describe the intuitive process of learning found in the current age of energy. Stage 1) Awakening Enthusiasm, Stage 2) Focus Attention, Stage 3) Direct Experience, and Stage 4) Sharing Inspiration.
The meadow was golden when we arrived at Tuolumne in Yosemite in mid-September last year. We hiked up the trail from there and pitched our tents around Cathedral Lake, nestled under the peak. A few families had never been to Yosemite and there were a few new to backpacking, including a 4-year-old sibling. Over the next 2 days parents and students together climbed Echo and Tresider Peaks, both over 10,000 ft. A few stayed in camp and enjoyed the glorious alpine meadow.
Several children even swam in the icy lake waters to refresh themselves after their climbs. One girl found an arrowhead in the sand outside her tent, connecting all of us to native visitors from the past.
The weather consisted of cool and crisp, perfect autumn days. On our last night, we had dinner on a nearby glacially polished ridge overlooking a lake far below. The sun was setting and the first stars began to appear in the alpenglow. As we all became silent in awe of this experience, David Eby, our music instructor, led us in singing Peace, a song written by the founder of our school, J. Donald Walters:
Peace gave us the mountains
Peace gave us the sky
Nightly, when starlight enfolds us,
Peace is its lullaby. Amen, Amen
Peace gave us the morning,
Peace gave us the sun.
Bird songs that call us to welcome
Day, and fresh labors begun. Amen, Amen.
Peace gave us the seasons,
Peace gave us the rain-
Cool clouds that gather to bless us,
Mist hands that soothe away pain. Amen, Amen.
Peace gave us our hearts¹ love
Peace gave us our smiles:
Rays of Thy presence within us,
Light that all strife reconciles. Amen, Amen.
When we returned home, parents and students could not get over the awe and bonding they felt in that quiet moment. Many felt the harmony that comes from peace within.
Balarama is a seasoned primary teacher at LWS. He has introduced many of our young students and their parents to backpacking and camping in some of the most amazing areas of the Sierras.