Dispatch from the LLC | Ted Lewis
When one steps out of the Laurentian Leadership Centre at this time of year, one is struck with the utter surrealistic scenario of the space. It’s hard to believe that three short months ago, a group of fresh faced and eager students—some nearly finished their academic endeavours, some looking for a launch pad to cold, hard reality— arrived from thousands of kilometers away to a scene of unbridled beauty. Bright eyes in wind-brightened faces undertook whirlwind viewings of the cities tourist attractions and nightlife; filtered fall photos were in the orders of each and every day. Now, a more somber mood has settled into the mansion’s inhabitants, reflecting perhaps the stripped trees, the icing-sugar dusting of snow, and the chill wind that cuts through even the heaviest coats. Inside the house too, things have changed. Like our baser animal relations, we have become accustomed to our surroundings, and to each other. The rooms which once whispered of ancient historical secrets have been silenced, their sibilating replaced by the frantic clicking of computer keys inscribing the arguments of essays and examinations.
We’re a little more comfortable with one another, too. The egg-shells upon which we once tread have been swept, and there is frankness (both positive and negative) which pervades the interactions of these students, these men and women, living in community, about to say their last good-byes.
These ramblings don’t do justice to the complexity of this place, its residents, or its staff, nor do they (I should think) fully capture the projections of the LLC back in Langley. The truth is that the LLC is not only rewarding, but also trying. It is in every sense of the word a test of one’s mettle. Living with twenty others, working hours that are sometimes insane, all while juggling academic commitments and the new attractions of a brand new social scene are all taxing to say the least. Deconstruction is a word that comes to mind.
Yet these observations by no means mitigate the enormous positivity of the experience. Deconstruction, after all, allows for reconstruction, and steel is forged in fire. The reality is that all the clichés available in English cannot sum up the fullness of our time hear. There is a certain je ne sais quoi which is unidentifiable even to those closest to the experience.
A good friend, attendant during this semester, made a great observation about the famed LLC time capsules which grace the nooks and crannies of the mansion. “They don’t really matter,” he said. “What matters is the time and the memory that you create.” So what was it like? Well, you’ll probably have to come here to find out.