To a Prospective Student
by Charles F. Davis Jr., Athletic Director and Economics Teacher
A feature of any good stay at Deerfield is that philosophy abounds here, whether delivered in a Sophist text or from a perch on a tractor seat.
You may have already had an official tour at Deerfield. Or, perhaps, you’ve gained a sense of Deerfield on our website. May I invite you on another stroll on our pathways, encompassing a few moments in time with people and places that make them special:
It is early October and Deerfield is gloriously ablaze in color. To gain a bird’s eye view of the school I’d have you venture up the winding path to the Rock on Pocumtuck Ridge. When you arrive at the Rock, you will be awed there by the patchwork landscape of the valley floor, and you’ll undoubtedly make out a landmark on the campus…a steeple, a goalpost, perhaps a man on a giant lawn mower. You’ll come to understand the meaning of the valley.
If it happens to be a Saturday, after your descent you may run into security officers Tom, Tammy or Sandy standing next to the buttonball tree or whisking past you on their golf cart. Pretend to be lost, so you have an excuse to engage them. You won’t regret the time. Making your way down Albany Road, you’ll begin to hear cheers from the Lower Level, and your pace will quicken-there could be several games that day, each with its own atmosphere, narratives, heroes and memories. If you come through the gym on your way back, stop to see if Dottie and Norm are in the Stockroom. They are DA’s incarnation of the oracle of Apollo, and you will have a Delphic understanding of the place when you’ve spent some time at their windows.
Though we acknowledge winter’s arrival far sooner on the calendar, snow seems to come later to our village than in years past. Mother Nature holds us in a tease, for often we think we’ve escaped her clutches by early February, only to awaken the next morning to an overnight delivery from the sky. The campus holds a few passages where you will pay homage to winter: the turn west between Arms and the Main School Building where the prevailing wind hits home, or the walkway towards the Dining Hall between Dewey and Denunzio. If your trek requires a winter warmer, go see Roger, Shirley or Adrian in the kitchen and have your ears bent and your chill extinguished. Keep an eye out for the raspberry filled cookies on the glass counter!
It is early May. The river at the western edge of the campus has crested and receded, finding its best depth for the months to come. You may encounter Denise on “The Millennium Falcon,” yet another of Deerfield’s golf carts not used for golf. Her thumbs are greener than the colors of the school she fortifies. In addition, the man you spotted from the Rock is now at close hand, traversing the outfield grass on his mower. He may want to shut the machine down for a few minutes to ask you about your visit, your plans for the summer, or your favorite topping on a bagel. A feature of any good stay at Deerfield is that philosophy abounds here, whether delivered in a Sophist text or from a perch on a tractor seat. Before you depart Albany Road, turn and look west at day’s end to savor the golden light that befalls this valley in the spring.
By June the students have ventured away and the school is, for a moment, at rest. In late afternoon, were you to come upon the river, you’d likely find a jovial collection of swimmers, some of the canine kind, in a playful frolic. Intrepid children are exhilarated as they ride the river’s current. This may be a day where a rumble of thunder and a darkening sky moves over the adjoining pastures and vows to chase you up the hill as the skies open for a few minutes of force. “I’ll be back,” you may think to yourself, undaunted by this fleeting tempest. “So will I,” answers the river.