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Why We Gather Rocks

September 5, 2014

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Susan Kemer sent out a note a few weeks ago asking for help removing rocks from the organic garden she so beautifully maintains. In her note, she described how the soil in her mother’s native Serbia was dark and rich and free of rocks thanks to the effort of generations of farmers. “We can do this as a gift, and as a symbol of hope in the future of the School garden,” she wrote. “It has become my dream to see the soil here look that good.”

So I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to pick up rocks — to have generations of people labor for a future benefit they most likely will not reap. The halls of this place have been filled with such people. I went back tonight and watched Bill Amos’s Chapel talk at June’s Reunion. Mr. Amos is a rock gatherer of the first order and he shared the story of three St. Andreans who spent their lives picking up more than their fair share. For me, it was a good reminder to give thanks to the 2,000 or so of you who came before my time (what I’d give to meet Bill Cameron and have him edit this essay!) and a good reminder to make sure I’m doing my part.

We welcomed 90 news students and their loved ones to the St. Andrew’s family this week. Each one of them will have the opportunity to help others, to encourage a learning environment of mutual respect and appreciation, to give more than they get. They will join together to do what generations have done before them — pick up rocks and make the soil that is St. Andrew’s richer for those who come later.

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