Coming back from Spring Break was one of the happiest moments of my life. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy seeing friends and family, and going on the all important and time consuming college visits, but I felt like something was missing, and I found myself counting the days when I would be back at Chewonki. Being back in society was not as weird for me as I thought it would be, which is kind of scary. I enjoyed spending time with most of the people that I saw, but there was now a new part of me that I would never be able to truly share, even with the closest of friends. It was all the little things that were so different between Chewonki life and my regular life that stood out to me. The casual use of homophobic language, the materialistic way of thinking, and the general attitude towards things that just wasn’t as friendly or optimistic as at Chewonki. I realized that when I come back for senior year, things will be the same, but I will be changed forever, but I didn’t dwell on those thoughts too much, and made the most of the short time I had at home.
I landed at the airport in the afternoon, not expecting very many people to be there yet. So I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at baggage claim to find around fifteen of the friends that I had been so looking forward to seeing. It was a very good beginning to a day that kept getting better. A few hours later, we arrived at Chewonki to be greeted right off the bus by the other half of the semester who had already arrived or had come back the week before for the white water canoeing trip. There was much hugging and tackling, and I couldn’t help but smile as the family of thirty nine was reunited, a family that I love and am part of, that we will all stay a part of, long after our semester has ended. Coming back from Spring Break has given me a unique opportunity to compare Chewonki to the society that the majority of people live in. Back at home, I had my school, my sports, and my family and friends, all of which I am extremely thankful for. But I have come to realize more clearly that the basic attitude of society is flawed. It is all about competition and speed, and being better and better, things that seem desirable on the surface.
People don’t want to do chores, most of the kids that I know never spend time outside in the woods, or care that much about the environment for that matter. At Chewonki, people find joy in all things, it is not difficult to have fun on a work program, no matter how tedious you think it will be. Everyone watches out for each other, Chewonki is a unit that is only as strong as its weakest link, a characteristic that is not found in society because it focuses solely on the individual. A certain satisfaction is gotten from chopping wood,
or cleaning the dining hall, or helping make dinner, because your efforts help keep this wonderful place working, an incentive to work hard that I find the most powerful, knowing that the people around you won’t let you down, and that you won’t let them down either. It is this simple way of life that I think provides people with the purest kind of happiness, a life that many people in society scorn because they are unused to it and don’t understand it, a life that I am living to the fullest as my precious time here slips away faster than ever.
– Connor, Winston Churchill High School, MD