It was the first work program of the semester. I thought I had the coolest job because I was going to get to maul wood. Previously before coming to Maine Coast Semester, my dad had taken me into the backyard a few times to practice mauling. It was a tough task at home but it is if I had been training for that moment. I had never felt so accomplished before that afternoon. It was a snowy day with high winds, and looking over the vast farmland you could barely see 100 ft in front of you. However the cold was not a factor, it instead created more determination to split the wood.
The reaction that erupts is unexplainable. Mauling wood empowers the body and soul. It creates a freeing feeling. When the axe splits the wood and the tingly sense runs through you hands, a satisfaction comes across the face as something I did alone with no one carrying me on their back. I felt like I was making a difference in the community and shaping a better person. It is also a great accomplishment because you are splitting wood the old fashion way, sometimes it is better to take the tougher route. After splitting my first block of wood, I couldn’t help but smile, give a shout, and go in for a bigger log. My work program group was having so much fun that we decided to tackle the biggest log together. Each of us took a few swings at it, and when the final blade pierced through the wood, I knew that we had reached true teamwork. That afternoon I called myself Queen of the Wood Stack.
Work program is now one of my favorite times of the week because it is always a new opportunity to learn something different. I have participated in mauling, clean up buildings, boat work, building sheep feeders, and sustainability. It’s the satisfying part of my day because I am doing the work with my bare hands and no one always gazing over my shoulder.
-Cassie Greenbaum, Ellicott City, MD