About two and a half weeks ago, I had an unfortunate bike accident. However, this accident has only shown me how fortunate I truly am. I was fortunate to have had a friend insist that I update my helmet before the accident. I was fortunate that I was not far from my home. I was fortunate that my son, Isaac, was with me and able to ride to get help. I was fortunate that we have neighbors like Mr. Clough and Ms. Swan who immediately took Isaac and Fjell to their home, fed them, brought them home and put them to bed while Keri rushed me to the hospital.

As my prognosis grew worse, my good fortune grew. When I hit the ground, I knew my shoulder was broken. When the x-ray came back, I learned my lung had collapsed. As I was being transported by ambulance to Portland, my colleagues jumped into action—tapping our loyal substitute teachers, Liz Sizeler and Hannah Miller—to make sure that my students would be greeted by a friendly face and worthy work the next morning and for the days of recovery that followed. I am incredibly fortunate to have colleagues that are willing and ready to pick up slack when another is in need.

We are fortunate to have friends and be part of a community that, while my family dealt with the uncertainty of my condition, was ready to help offer some assuredness. Offers of support did not lack from our benevolent community! Betty Wyman quickly set up a Meal Train, and many generous folks signed up to send us nourishing meals. Parents of Class 5-6 were energized to manifest the type of community I try to engender within the classroom: one of respect, graciousness and camaraderie. Margo Burnham and Tabatha Tucker reached out and asked if I would let the families come and help my family with tasks that I would otherwise be doing on the weekends; I humbly accepted. This past Sunday, two weeks since my accident, I was overwhelmed with awe and gratitude as I watched adults and children alike splitting and stacking firewood, harvesting and processing fruits and vegetables, and covering the garden for the winter, all with a mood of joy (see gallery, below).

The past few weeks have had their share of challenges for my family, to be sure, but as we look back upon them, all we can think is how fortunate we are. It is with gratitude that we thank every member of our community, whether they nourished, gave a ride, split wood, picked apples. It is not the faraway talking heads that affect our days, but the people we are surrounded by. I can testify that we all are fortunate to be surrounded by a community of friendly, compassionate, altruistic people. 

With so much appreciation,

Robert, Keri, Isaac and Fjell