Having finished scoring all of the final exams and getting grades posted, this first hike of summer was especially sweet. The dirt road to the trail head was blocked by fallen pines. As we walked up the road, we were stunned to discover hundreds of uprooted trees, many with trunks two feet in diameter. It must be the result of the 100 mph winds we had earlier in the spring. Nonetheless, we made it to the lake. It was amazing to see tiny alpine forget-me-nots already in bloom.There was a brief window of bright sky before the thunder rumbled in and the graupel turned the landscape white. What is it about the scent of pine and rain that makes everything feel so alive? This is the beginning of my return to the world without walls.