Fifteen participants gathered in the Gatehouse Meeting room for the workshop on January 4. Only one new person expressed frustration over the confusing path from the Park entrance to the Gatehouse. “Ah, you’ve just passed our initiation!” one person laughed. No matter how detailed our travel instructions, first-timers always miss that abrupt hairpin turn at the top of the hill. We veterans all nodded in sympathy and welcomed her warmly.
The topic, This Year Will be Different, elicited a range of responses, no two alike and all filled with insight into the task of looking ahead with the benefit of past experience. Jane Kenyon’s poem “Otherwise” set the tone for the discussion and sharing of ideas. Taking the theme into the environment, participants were asked what they may have seen along highways and in backyards that suggest the environment is changing. With some writers heading outdoors and others preferring the window view in the warm meeting room, everyone reflected on the assignment and shared thoughts and feelings about the changing environment, contributing to a rich reporting and analysis.