Printed in the Fall 2012 issue of Quest magazine.
Citation: Boyd, Tim. "Presidents Diary" Quest 100. 4 (Fall 2012): pg. 154-155.
The focus for the month of April was travel. My own travels took me to visit some of our groups in the west and one of our groups near to Olcott. I began by driving up to visit with the folks in Detroit. The group, which meets just outside of Detroit, has been an active, high-functioning group for decades. They have a variety of members and hold public programs most days of the week. I have visited them almost every year for the last twenty. It has gotten to the point that they set the date for my visit, then tell me about it.
Later that month I was headed west. The trip began with Santa Fe, New Mexico, where a small group of members have been meeting for a few years. Carmelo de los Santos, a second-generation Theosophist from Brazil and a world-class violin recitalist, is very active in that group and in one that is forming just down the road in Albuquerque.
From Santa Fe, it was on to Las Vegas for a lively meeting with about thirty members and nonmembers in the area. My host was Terry Hunt, a longtime Theosophist who actually was on the Olcott staff back in 1981, when the Dalai Lama visited and stayed with us. He has a number of first-hand stories about that visit.
Next was Denver, where western national board of directors member Kathy Gann is secretary for the group. We had a couple of days together with a group that is a refreshing combination of young and senior members.
The month's travel closed out in Phoenix, where we had an all-day workshop with members from as far away as Tucson and Sedona. This has been a dedicated and focused group for many years and is blessed with members with a deep exposure not only to the teachings but to the history and context of Theosophy.
Tim and Lily Boyd with attendees at the gathering in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
May was another month for travel and visits. My travels took me to Puerto Rico and North Carolina. I had been scheduled to go to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for many months. The purpose of my trip was to attend a relative's wedding. While there I thought it would be nice to connect with Magaly Polanco, a friend and head of the TS in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. I thought dinner would be nice. Of course, it ended up with me speaking at the lodge first, then dinner with Magaly and her husband, Eladio, after. The group is devoted and spirited. Even though my Spanish is somewhat less than basic, we talked into the night.
At the end of the month I traveled to Hendersonville, North Carolina, for the Mid-South Federation conference. About forty members attended from the area comprising Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The theme was "Theosophy in Nature," and the location for the conference was matched to the theme. It was North Carolina beauty at its best, with rolling hills, forests, and a lake. Dr. Scott Olsen from Central Florida College was a featured speaker and gave a challenging presentation on "The Divine Proportion." My wife and I traveled on to Raleigh and spent a relaxing two days with Betty Bland, past president of the TSA, and her husband, David.
In between trips we had an extended visit from Elinore Detiger, who hails from the isle of Iona in Scotland. She spent several days with us helping in the library and sharing her bountiful spirit. Elinore is one of those quiet people always working in the background. She is deeply involved in significant projects on more than one continent.
Toward the end of May our international president, Radha Burnier, made a long-expected visit. When I was in India for the General Council meeting in December, I had invited her to come. It had been six years since her last visit to Olcott. She combined her stay with us with a world tour that took her to Krotona, London, and the Netherlands. During her stay here she had a chance to meet with some old friends and coworkersâ€”John Kern (adviser to The Kern Foundation), Floyd Kettering (secretary for the Theosophical Investment Trust, and newly treasurer for the TSA), Ruben Cabigting, and others. She also spoke to a gathering of staff and volunteers. More meaningful to me personally was the opportunity for several wide-ranging conversations with her about the TS internationally, its past, and its future.
Diana March of the Quest Book Store (left) converses with Tim Boyd and Radha Burnier.
The month of June began with the graduation/moving up ceremony for the Prairie School of DuPage. By now most of you should be aware of the young school, which has been operating on our Olcott campus since January of this year. The ceremony was held in our third-floor auditorium and was attended by parents and by a number of our staff who have grown quite close to the kids and teachers. It was a joyous mix of playful drama, music, ceremony, and a short speech or two.
Over the Father's Day weekend the Order of the Round Table held its annual campout. Mark Roemmich, head of our grounds and maintenance department, and his wife, Kim, lead the group. All in all about thirty kids and parents were on hand for the campfire, storytelling, s'mores, and a midnight thunderstorm that capped the night's activities.
The library got an upgrade during the month. For some time now Dan Smolla, our head librarian, has been increasing the level of resources for children. Our fledgling children's section has grown, and he has incorporated children's activities into the library. With all of this in mind, Dan and my wife, Lily, got together and developed a plan to make the physical space in the children's section of the library more inviting. They asked artist and recent TSA member Jiana Waddell to paint a mural across the twenty-foot wall at the back of the library, where the children meet. What she conceived and executed over the next few weeks was an idyllic and playful wooded scene. It gives the impression that the back wall of the library has disappeared and you are looking out into the meadow. It was a substantial gift of time and expertise.
Finally, something you will be hearing more about: on July 1 a sudden, powerful storm passed through the Wheaton area. In the fifteen minutes that it raged it knocked out power to over 250,000 people in the area and downed trees, fences, and power lines in every direction. The type of storm is called a "derecho," or "straight wind" storm. This one had winds clocked at more than one hundred miles per hour. Fortunately, on our campus no one was injured, and miraculously none of the buildings were harmed, but seventy-two large trees were either uprooted or snapped in two. It was painful to survey the damage. Going forward, the destruction has motivated us to be more proactive in caring for the grounds and renewing our trees.