I have never been in a scull. I woefully admit I can barely swim. But I love to row. As I approach three years as a cancer survivor, as my former energy and craving for movement return and awaken both muscle and mind, I find myself seated on an erg — an ergometer used by rowers for training — several times a week. Though I know it is unlikely I will ever grasp oars and row on the Willamette or any other river, I find every “stroke” on this machine propels me further wroom. With every stroke, mind and body urge each other on — pull harder, work smarter — striving not just for continual motion but for fluidity and strength. In my mind’s eye, every stroke speeds me away from the past and into the future, and with every stroke, I claim that future and leave fear standing on some distant pier. I don’t know whether rowing is the ultimate mind-body metaphor. But whether it’s the “swing” described by crew members or “runner’s high” or “mindful meditation,” there is a place — the ultimate destination — that can be reached by stillness, exertion or creative expression. It is a place of paradox, one where you give everything you have to find there is joy in the barest essentials of breath, movement, thought. It’s an ideal place to find answers, to reach decisions, to make peace, to discover hope. This issue of The Scene will acquaint you with a young man who represents students across the nation who take on the hurdles of doubt and difficulty to pursue the dream of a college degree. It will introduce you to those who take to the river in the pre-dawn darkness to find the best they have to give. And it will call you to slow down — or speed up — or whatever you need to do to find the clarity that awaits at the threshold where mind and body meet.
Correction: In the article “Cardinal and Gold—and Green” in the summer 2007 issue, we described the success of Sam Farr ’63 in creating landmark legislation to protect the environment, “sans law degree.” Heather Fynn ’65, of Anchorage, Alaska, wrote to correct us. Farr did indeed earn a law degree, from Santa Clara University in 1968. Our apology to Farr and our readers for the error.