6:30 am: Ashlee rings the bell, signaling for the entirety of Chewonki’s student body to get out of their warm beds and start their day. Many people actually wake up to the bell and then immediately get out of bed. This is quite impressive and completely mind- blasting. I’m not even going to begin to try to understand as to how they get out of bed at 6:30, so I will focus on the first step: actually hearing the bell. I don’t think I have heard the bell in the morning since the beginning of the semester, when I was nervous and completely unfamiliar with my new east coast surroundings. Now, at 6:30, I am more than certain I am dead to the world and will remain that way until 6:40, at which point my cabin yells to me and my bunkmate, Lily, who is likely in my bed because she was cold in the night, to wake up.
6:40 am: My bunkmate Lily and I wake up and think about getting out of bed. It has gotten to the point where our bed is so comfortable we have to count in Spanish (mind you it’s always a good idea to start off your day bilingually) to get out of bed.
6:41 am: Both of us are off to the races and start getting dressed so we can get to morning meeting on time.
6:44 and 30 seconds: I leave the cabin and run to the Adirondack chair cluster, just narrowly arriving on time to a big circle of people. Most of the people are looking guarded as they are hunched over with their hands in pockets either because they are simply not morning people or are not morning people and are über-cold (being a morning person is not an option in my world).
6:45 am: A person who has been selected to read a quotation at morning meetings, lunches, and dinners that day– who Chewonki folks refer to as ‘Plato’– begins to read his or her passage aloud.
6:47 am: Plato finishes reading his or her choice passage and dismisses everyone to go to chores. I head off to the Library because my chore for this current two-week chore rotation is ‘News and Weather’ and open my computer’s browser to the New York Times and Weather.com to study the current happenings in the world and gather this information for a report I will give at morning meeting soon after.
7:15 am: Breakfast, which, for me, means toasting pieces of Chewonki’s amazing homemade bread and then eating what the kitchen had caringly made for all of Chewonki. After gathering my food, I sit at a table with a mixture of students, teachers, staff, and Outdoor Classroom staff.
7:45 am: Morning meeting! Now all the work I put into my chore will pay off because now I get to present the news and weather to my community, and as of today, I get to state an animal fact in my presentation.
8:00 am: Morning meeting ends and I prepare for the rest of the day.
I love starting my mornings this way. Are they well-scheduled? Yes. Do I ever want to sleep in or at least wake up at a mildly normal hour, say, maybe at 7:30? Absolutely. But, at this moment in my life, I would not want to wake up any other way.
San Francisco, CA