[otw_shortcode_dropcap label=”A” font=”Arvo” color_class=”otw-black-text” background_color_class=”otw-white-background” size=”large” border=”border” border_color_class=”otw-black-border” square=”square”][/otw_shortcode_dropcap]t Hampton Court Palace in England there is perhaps the most famous hedge maze in the world. Tall green hedgerows intersect to make a beautiful garden replete with benches and gravel pathways. When walking on the trails of Blair’s own Siegel Property this past week, the arched trees, trimmed grass, and intersecting pathways reminded me of the hedge maze, this time nestled within a forest palace.
For many new students, the Siegel property may remain unknown. Mr. Pagotto has mentioned it on stage when reviewing community guidelines, and someone may have spoken in passing of the fish they caught in Lake Genevieve, the round, man-made pond nestled amongst hardwoods and ringed with a cement embankment and a series of picnic tables. In fact, much of the Siegel Property likely remains unexplored to even many returning students, many of whom haven’t had the opportunity to explore its many trails or spend an afternoon by the lakeshore.
I’ve been on those trails several times, but not often. Recently, when I decided to investigate the new trails Mr. Wenner has been hard at work building, I found myself enthralled by the extent of the park. Entering by the fairway across from the soccer field, you are presented with an old road and a newly cut path, stretching off in either direction through the forest. I took the path, and explored the twists and turns as it led me to a collapsing barn, a shady green, and a long thin road reminiscent of the South, save for the lack of Spanish moss. The lake, too, was pleasant, the the treeline reflecting silently on the calm waters, and the movement of the clouds accenting the stillness of the afternoon forest.
It was certainly an enjoyable jaunt, and the shade of the trees was a comforting reprieve from the blasting midday sun.
At Blair our busy schedules– an overused excuse– often prevent us from taking an hour or two to simply relax and take in the world. Despite this, a walk along the Siegel Property trails or even a sit by Lake Genevieve can serve as a healthy retreat from a heavy study schedule or an long afternoon of sports practices.
Mr. Wenner explained to me that he plans to have an official trail opening in the spring, once the final trail construction is completed. In no way does this mean that students shouldn’t take advantage of Blair’s beautiful arboreal park before this; they certainly should, for there is something for everyone there. For those animal spotters in our midst, there are rabbits, birds, and deer aplenty. For photographers and painters, the ambience could only be more inspiring if there were tall cliffs and waterfalls in addition to the cattails and mossy stones.
In sum, the Siegel Property shouldn’t remain unknown to anyone at this school: we should all take advantage of the woodland beauty we have in our backyard, and maybe even take some time to relax, as difficult as it can seem to find the time to do so, even just once in awhile. Hampton Court Palace has its hedge maze, and we have the Siegel Property; it wouldn’t be unearned to take a break from our go, go lifestyle to simply sit back (or walk) and enjoy the view.