Ways of Beginning

Author: Elane K.

SSP is a funny, sometimes contradictory place. Case in point: everyone at SSP is somehow both down-to-earth and absolutely stellar. Where else will you find a group of thirty-six people who are collectively mushroom lovers, mushroom haters, history buffs, pun makers, Chipotle enthusiasts, bird owners, etc.? 

Our Saturday morning began with a guest lecture by Dr. Larry Sverdrup, who, in true SSP fashion, gave an incredibly engaging talk. Rubber sparks flew and landed, I lost the gift of sight for twenty seconds, and a banana was made into a surprisingly effective hammer. There’s more that happened, but it gets kind of crazy. 

Later on, beginning at 1:00 UTC, our very own Dr. R hosted a session of asteroid observing. As Dr. R put it, a lot of the work had to do with pushing buttons and waiting for extended periods of time, only to push more buttons. 

exhibit a: dozens of delicious dust donuts, courtesy of Dr. R! yummy yummy

exhibit b: baby saturn, courtesy of Dr. R! they grow up so fast

And so much of the night was spent with many of my SSPeers, watching small prickles of light flash in between heated games of Fish and Codenames. (Note: given a stressful decision in Codenames, the answer is never “Napoleon.”)

In addition to star fields, dust donuts, and bug-infested lines of Python code, I’ve been exposed to so much in the past two weeks: new ways of telling the time; new ways of sneaking garden tools into my room; new ways of beginning.

exhibit c: the true purpose of commenting your code

From writing limericks while sleep-deprived to considering the health benefits of licking quarters, I’ve been given a lot to do and think about, thanks to SSP.  I’ve learned about Florida men, good K-Dramas, Mother Russia, and Winnie the Pooh. I’ve learned how to take a point and follow it to its home, how to stay in motion. I’ve learned about beginnings—how bright they can be.

Earlier today, Dr. Sverdrup told us that your brain ultimately decides what you see, colors the way you perceive your surroundings. 

Consider all the pieces of light we attribute to home, from the North Star to the Sun. Consider now: the Zoom waiting room, Team 8, the brightness of the spaces in between. I think my brain has made its choice. 

Hi there! I’m Elane, and I’m a high school student based in California. I enjoy Studio Ghibli soundtracks, creative writing, and my mom’s cooking. Talk to me about lime skittles and my fear of mushrooms. I’m very happy to meet you!