As a runner, I cherish the time I get to be alone each day, running and thinking about various things. Before coming to Chewonki, I would wind around the roads and trails by my house with leisure, never really anxious to return to the busy and often-stressful reality I faced the other twenty-three hours of the day. Sometimes I would purposely extend my runs, eager to remain in the burdenless state of mind I experienced as I glided past my surroundings with determination. However, after over a month of running down the long paved road that leads through a corridor of snow-covered trees (many of which I can now happily identify as a result of Natural History class!), I have found that my attitude towards this sacred portion of my day has shifted. Instead of using this time to analyze certain situations or consider the future, I have become enraptured with my surroundings – whether it be the snowshoe hare tracks lining the side of the road, or a story of one of my wonderful running partner’s, offering me a small glimpse into another friend I have been fortunate enough to make in my time here. I no longer wish to extend my runs indefinitely because my return destination is undesirable. Conversely, I often find myself shortening the time I spend on the road, anxious to return to participate in a dance party, walk down to the water in order to catch the sunset, or to build a snow creature in Osprey Circle.
Realizing that my time here is truly unique and simultaneously finite, I don’t have a problem sacrificing my alone time for another community-oriented activity anymore. As soon as I catch a glimpse of the Barn coming up the last hill, my pace quickens and I start to sprint – I start to sprint to a place that I have learned to call home; a place where surrounding myself with tons of other kids, each wonderful in his or her own right, has led to a greater self-understanding and contentment than I would have ever imagined.
-Anna Purcell, Watertown, NY