SUUSI 2008


2008 September 24. Now comes word that another SUUSIite that I have known has passed away. This time it is Lily McEachern, long time SUUSI participant and dance instructor. I took her Folk Dancing class in 2002, when she was 84, and she was able to dance in most of the dances she taught us. She taught us a variety of folk dances from Russian, Hebrew, Scottish, and other traditions, and she handed out instructions for each of these, written in the old way, as longhand. The email I found this out from mentioned something she said during her lifetime: ""If I should not be with you when the next sun sets, Don't mourn...Just reach out to the world; embrace it for me..."

2008 September 22. I am saddened by the death of Marcia Sward, who attended SUUSI in 2003-2004. She was the Executive Director of the Mathematical Association of America from 1989-1999 and served many other roles in the mathematical community. She was also a Director of Education for the Audubon Naturalist Society. She went on the Falls of the Little River hike at SUUSI 2003, like I did, and I have several photos of her from that, including both of us swimming in the river . More details about Marcia Sward can be found at .

Place of Decision.
Go to Ingathering
Once upon a time, long ago, in a Tewa Pueblo village, there lived a brave and wise man, Long Sash. The village never knew peace. They were continually ransacked and destroyed by neighboring tribes. The village people wanted to move somewhere else. Long Sash told them the journey would be long and difficult. He asked them, "Did you want to go?"

They said "Yes", and they packed their belongings and started their long journey. A ways down the road, the people started to fight each other. Long Sash halted the journey. He told them "You harm each other more than the other villages did back where we came from. We need to stop and decide if we are going to continue.". So they stopped, and at night they saw two stars, one white and one orange, signifying go or not go. After contemplating these stars at the Place of Decision, they continued their journey. They now acted kinder to each other, and so the journey continued.

It was long and arduous. People grew old and weary. They doubted if they wanted to continue. It was night and the people could see a faint group of stars, called the Place of Doubt. Long Sash lay down, and then got up, saying he had a dream. He told them that they had finished the hardest part of the trip, and there is a little ways to go. He laid his headdress on the ground and reminded the people that this is where they can seek guidance from the Above Persons.

So they continued their journey, and eventually found a place under the Stars of Helpfulness where they were able to live in peace forever.

This is one of the stories I present in my workshop "Stories of the Sky". It symbolizes the theme of SUUSI 2008, Pilgrimage. The word suggests to me a moving from one location to another, either permanently, as with this Tewa Pueblo tribe or with the Israelites escaping Egypt, or temporarily, as with pilgrimages Muslims make to Mecca once in their lifetime. In either case, the result is change, and the pilgrimage is a seeking of something beyond what one's life currently is.

And so it is with SUUSI. SUUSI moved from Virginia Tech to Radford this year. It is only 10 miles, and we have been there more often than to Virginia Tech. We wonder if it was the Promised Land. With this page, I take you on a pilgrimage. There is a footpath at the top of the page, in which you start your journey, going to Ingathering. You go from there to a number of other places, such as nightlife, workshops, and Teens Way Off Broadway, and conclude your journey at the Closing Circle. This does not seem like a Promised Land; in fact it is a place to say goodbye from. In fact, the entire journey is the Promised Land.

So go on your journey now. If you get impatient and don't want to complete the journey but instead want to skip around, there are links at the bottom of the page that will let you do that. But I suggest you do it page by page, as a pilgrimage, by clicking the "Place of Decision" link at the upper right. If you want to go back, click on "Place of Doubt" on the left.

And come to SUUSI 2009, 2009 July 19-25, and meet Burnie, the Flaming Chalice.