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Train of Thought: Loco Motion

Posted: Monday, Jul. 02, 2012

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John Syme

John Syme graduated from Davidson College with a bachelor of arts degree in French in 1985. He worked as a general-assignment reporter at The Winston-Salem Journal, where he later wrote freelance travel stories during his first solo cross-country road trip in the summer of 1989. He worked as a copywriter at a Charlotte advertising agency, as a research translator at a French nutrition center outside Paris, and as a politics and education newspaper reporter in Charlotte. He returned in 2001 to Davidson, where he is senior writer, alumni editor and instigator of the "Road Trip 2009" blog, which evolved into his current blog, "Daybook Davidson."

During the school year, I take a yoga class in Alvarez College Union

with students, faculty and staff. We are a mixed group, yet with a

strong esprit de corps in our common unity—our community.


One day, we explored the relationship between balance and alignment.

Sounds easy. Not. Balance implies a stillpoint, pointed out our

teacher Kelley Gardner, of The Bindu in Cornelius. And since we are

most often in motion, she continued, alignment is crucial. We must

learn to hold the stillpoint and be in motion at the same time, or

continue to fall over.


Davidson is always in motion, even in summer.

As I write this, there are on campus Advanced Placement Summer Institute teachers from all

over the Southeast and Gordon Research Conference scientists from all

over the world. There are athletic campers swarming the sidewalks and

middle-school Duke Talent Identification Program students roaming the

lawns. There’s even a Lego Camp down the hill. Regular academic bustle

will soar again in late August, when Davidson welcomes one of its most

diverse freshman classes ever to help lead the college into its 176th

academic year.


Now more than ever, life at the college is built around a diversity of

people, ideas, cultures, religions, and orientations. Of course there

are rough patches in any “now more than ever” scenario, but moments

sublime, too.


“Diversity and inclusion are a style, not a goal,” one thoughtful

individual on campus notes. Indeed. And the commitment here to

diversity and inclusion—as a style, as a way of living—that I feel

when I put my ear to the ground is strong and growing stronger.

It must be so, to meet the world we live in.


The same is true for the Lake Norman area more generally, I believe.

In the 11 years I’ve lived here, I’ve seen lots of growth, and lots of

new people, many of them from “off.” My friend and colleague Gary Bartholomew,

who moved to North Carolina from L.A., notes that the “melting pot” we learned about as kids is

perhaps rather not the most apt analogy for that uniquely American

style of mixing and matching. “It’s a stew,” he says plainly. “The beef is still beef and the lamb

is still lamb and the carrots are still carrots.”


Which is not a bad thing.


Stew is a good thing: tasty, and a lot going on.

Which brings us back to balance and alignment. In the case of

stew, it’s all about flavors and textures and nutritional value. In

yoga, it’s all about muscles and bones and breath and energy. What’s

it all about for you?


Happy summer in motion!

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