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An Internship Ends

November 24, 2015
by North House Folk School

If if weren't for the changing day length, I might never have noticed that my time at North House was coming to a close. Indeed, after a peak of 16 hours of daylight in June, we are now watching the sun set before 4:30 PM. (And an interesting coincidence: the final days of our internship have almost the same amount of daylight as the week we arrived: around 9 hours. I like that. It helps me feel a sense of a cycle coming back around: just as the beginning, also the end.)

A recent sunset over the Big Lake.

I say I might not have noticed the end was coming because life has been so full, busy and enriching that I practically haven't had the time (or maybe the desire) to look at a calendar. I have been working wildly to finish projects, to collect materials and resources, to buy good books from the school store and take my last classes. These 10 months have absolutely flown past me.

I want to spend this final blog post thinking back to the people and experiences that shaped my time here. In my first draft of this post I waxed poetic, at length, about all the tremendous people, classes, and students that I came to know. I mentioned the staff: their tireless work ethic, dedication to this mission, sense of humor, and care for each other.

A candid!

I mentioned all the fantastic instructors: their knowledge, generosity and willingness to share that knowledge day and night, and the inspiration that oozes into the classroom and their students. Really remarkable people.

Our spoon carving class has two instructors... as you can see is necessary.

And the students: every week, a new outpouring of energy came flowing off of Highway 61, bright-eyed and ready to learn. One of my favorite examples of a North House student: Erik took four of our basketry classes this summer (and traveled around the Midwest to at least 3 other basket classes) during his journey to pe into basket-making.

Pine needle basketry with Erik in the back.

The classes I took here brought me an incredible amount of knowledge and built interest for my future crafts. The caliber of the classes and instruction was so high.

Checking out a pork belly, which is now brined and smoked into bacon.

And last but definitely not least, it was such a joy to be a part of team intern. These friends, roommates, co-workers and fellow learners most certainly were my team. We went through so much and I learned many lifelong lessons from them.

Thanks for the memories!

So, I thought the best way for me to sum up my internship is with some bits of wisdom I gained during this year. Here, then, are thirteen lessons I learned this year.

Lesson one: Jim Sannerud is one shady character.*

Looks suspicious.

He's kicking sawdust at me.

Lesson two: it doesn't need to be great - it doesn't even need to be good. It just matters that I'm trying.

Martha and I collaborated on a captive ring - it wasn't pretty, but it was a captive ring!

Lesson three: many people working together can accomplish remarkable things.  

Staff, students and instructors raising a Grindbygg frame.

Lesson four: the more I give, the more I receive.

Lesson five: take time for people. I had fun crafting, but my time was shaped more by people than by things.

Learning to teach our Tiny Timbers mini course.

Lesson six: Jim Sannerud is always watching.*

Eyes locked on.

Is he posing or watching? I think watching.

Lesson seven: wood-fired pizza is really good. Especially when new students bring new toppings each week. Meat classes almost always bring fresh sausage, sometimes we had 6 types of cheese, and "craziest toppings" contest brought in gummi bears, marshmallows, blueberries and figs. YUM!

The spread.

Lesson eight: practice and patience, patience and practice, practice and patience.

Lesson nine: take care of my tools, and keep my space organized! (Thanks Russ!)

Lesson ten: generosity and kindness create a positive place with happy people.

Lesson eleven: have fun!!

Launched off of an elk hide.

Matt and Andrew doing their morning stretches.

Lesson twelve: beware of trips to the post office.

Enough said.

Lesson thirteen: I have been so lucky to live here. My friend Joan pulled me outside recently to stand in silence together and watch a gorgeous sunset over the calm harbor. She said quietly, "You're so lucky to live here." I'm glad she said that, and it's true, I have lived in a remarkably beautiful place. But I take that in a more universal sense: we are all lucky to be exactly where we are. Life is a beautiful endeavor, no matter what form it comes in!

And finally, to give an update on one of my year's most exciting projects: I finished my snowshoes! The first snow flurries came on the same day that I finished them, and I'm eagerly anticipating the white winter months ahead.

And so it is, with some sense of sadness and so much more gratitude, humility, and fulfillment, that I close this chapter of my life and step into the next. This year was everything it could have been, and more. Thank you, North House. Thank you!

Just as the end, also the beginning. A recent sunrise over the Lake.

Those are BIG hands

*Of course I was joking about Jim Sannerud. He is a dear friend and skilled instructor - one of the many people I have had the honor of meeting and poking fun at. Thanks for being a good sport Jim!