Each cabin is like its own family – a community within a community. I live in Pete Gillies with seven other girls. All of us are very different and there are a lot of big personalities, but somehow we all work together in a sort of patchwork harmony. Each morning we encourage each other to get out of bed – sometimes gently, sometimes not, and sometimes with dance music. Nights are spent sitting in Crazy Creeks in front of the wood stove, chatting as we knit or complete homework. We’re lucky to have a wood stove with a window, so we spend a lot of time just staring at the crackling flames.
The wood stove became a big part of cabin life as soon as we learned how to use it. At the beginning of study hours somebody will start a fire, and when everybody else comes back after study hours the cabin is warm and cozy. There are few feelings better than walking across the quad when it’s cold, dark, and raining, only to step into your warm cabin and be greeted with the sight of your friends and a cheery fire. When it’s below freezing outside it’ll be warm enough inside the cabin that we can go to sleep in shorts and T-shirts.
Another big part of cabin life is the dance parties. Every now and then somebody will plug their ipod into a speaker and blast music, and the entire cabin will be up on our feet, dancing and going crazy. I remember one time when Will, one of our cabin parents, checked us in at night. We were all really energetic, and check-in turned into in a full-blown Taylor Swift dance party. Other times it’ll just be myself and one other person in the cabin, and we’ll play a song that both of us love and start singing along at the top of our voices and dancing.
On Halloween, which was a Monday night, we were all talking in the cabin about how Halloween is so different at Chewonki from how it is at home – there are no parties or trick-or-treating here. Most of the girls in the cabin were grateful that they didn’t have to navigate that stressful social scene this year, but we all wished we had some candy or other Halloween snacks. Just then, Will (a Pete Gillies cabin parent) came to check us in, bearing Halloween snacks! He had brought us two boxes of oreos and a carton of blackberries. We were all so excited. I was especially excited for the blackberries – in autumn in Maine, you’re hard-pressed to find fruit that isn’t apples. It was so nice, sitting around the fire with my cabin-mates and Will, talking and eating oreos and berries. It’s moments like that that really define my cabin experience, and I know I will miss my cabin-mates more than almost anything else when the semester is over.
Hannah, Headwaters School, TX