On Columbus Day, I woke up feeling icky. I’d stayed up too late the previous night doing homework and reading, and when the bell rang at 6:30 a.m., as it does almost every morning, I had no desire to get up. In the end, though, the day turned out wonderfully. At Chewonki, we had the day off from academics, as did many of our friends at home. Unlike most people outside of Chewonki Neck, though, we spent the day working nonetheless: it was Chewonki Day. The entire community on the Wonk – students, faculty, Outdoor Classroom staff, and pretty much anyone else you can think of – did myriad tasks to improve and tidy up the space we lived in.
On Sunday night, Semester 43 gathered in the Ellis Room for a pep rally led by Ben and Katie. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not usually one for pep rallies, but I think that this is the best one I’ve ever been to. We did the Chewonki cheer, and Kieran did a reading. He closed it by saying “And now you know, whenever you’re feeling down, that 41 other people have faith in you. Think about it – that’s almost half the Senate.” The entire rally couldn’t have lasted more than ten minutes, but I left feeling refreshed.
But back to the next morning: after breakfast, everyone went outside and stood in a huge circle and cheered for a while. Then, we all went off to our first tasks of the day. I had wood splitting first, and I went and split old boards for kindling with Isabel. A couple hours later, I felt so much better than I had in the morning. Any ickiness I’d felt when I woke up was completely gone. That’s something I’ve noticed a lot here: when I do physical work, I feel much calmer, healthier, and happier. It’s like the only thing in the world that matters is the one board in front of you, and when you’re done, you move on to another one – most other things in life are more complex.
In the afternoon, I was part of a big crew of people assigned to moving summer gear from Packout (where the equipment for wilderness trips is stored) to a winter storage space. We split into two groups, and my group loaded up the back of a pickup truck with coolers, food barrels, wannagans, and life jackets. We went back and forth from Packout to the summer cabins, unloading things. Eventually, Sara, Emma, and I lay in the bed of the truck on a pile of life jackets looking at the sky. It was one of the most quintessential fall days I’ve ever seen – the sky was perfectly blue and the leaves were just beginning to change. As a precursor to a ridiculously busy week, Chewonki Day was perfect.
-Kendall Post, Westport, CT