Is This Place Sacred?

Often, people visit Oak Grove School for the first time and share a feeling of peacefulness, of oneness, of familiarity. I have. Some describe this feeling as sacred – immeasurable.

Certainly, this is a place where the human-made buildings look as though they have grown out of the ground, “so as not to be an imposition to the land.” Certainly, this is a place where the children are seen and known, a place where adults and children ask meaningful questions together and individually without the limits of an answer. Certainly, this is a place where functional knowledge is celebrated and delved into deeply, while simultaneously, knowledge of oneself, the knowledge within, is explored. But is this place sacred?

This place has conflict, conflict between students, between students and teachers, between parents and teachers, administrators and all of the above. There are times when the campus has been dried by the scorching sun and overrun with weeds; when the campus has been surrounded by black smoke, the deafening sound of roaring flames jumbled with screeching sirens, and covered in toxic ash. During high school finals, students often look tired and stressed. Sometimes there is an expulsion, a trauma, or a death within the community, when entropy casts a heavy blanket of grief, loss, and confusion among us. Is this place sacred?

Is it a trick of awareness to see or feel this, or another place, as sacred or not sacred?

On a clear, blue-skied, temperate day, the sound of children laughing, a soaring red-tailed hawk above our heads, surrounded by whole-hearted and devoted adults, the majestic oaks standing competently amongst us, one might feel as if this place is sacred.

Can a place be sacred? Yes. No. Neither. Both.

– Jodi Grass