We all know it’s coming.
It snowed the other day, and I felt a distant resentment toward the snow on the ground; it deceived me into believing we still had another four months here. I thought back to running through the snow to Hoyts point with two of my friends from my advisory or to laughing with a classmate about analyzing the different layers of snow during science field trip. It had felt like we would be here forever. The snow is all melted now and I know the truth: we have less than one month.
“Well, you’ll have to do that soon. Time is…you know…winding down,” my teacher said this morning at breakfast, lowering his voice. This same teacher snapped his fingers on our first day of classes and said, “Like that,” to show us how quickly the semester would go by. He was right.
The topic of our imminent departure is daunting. I find myself jokingly shushing teachers who mention that this week is our last week of classes or students who say how excited they are for summer.
I saw somewhere today that we have only nineteen days. I hate that I know the number. Despite how badly I try to push this countdown out of my head, I know tomorrow morning I will wake up, and my first thought will be eighteen. Eighteen more Gathers (probably five minutes later than they should be); eighteen more breakfasts of farm yogurt and granola; eighteen more sighs as I pull out a broom for morning chores; eighteen more food facts at lunch; eighteen more late nights in Orchard; eighteen more times of setting my alarm for exactly 6:45 AM (a time that will definitely make me late for Gather); eighteen more times of waking up at exactly 6:45 AM and having a new, lower number in my head. Until zero. What happens then?
I remember going home during break and feeling as though Chewonki had been nothing more but a lengthy, elaborate dream. It’s a cliche, yes, but I felt I needed reassurance that I had truly spent two months here. The smell of the farm on my Timberlands was not quite enough to convince me.
I hope taking Chewonki home with me will be easier when I go back to Connecticut for good, that the smell of Orchard’s woodstove on my clothes will not be the only proof of my experience, that I will be able to see Chewonki in myself and in all that I do. But, for now, all I can really hope is that these next nineteen days will be the slowest yet.
-Kimberly, The Taft School, CT