Living at Chewonki for this past month has opened my eyes to all the behind the scenes work that goes into living an enjoyable, sustainable life. At my sending school, I am not constantly exposed to all the effort it takes to hold a community together. At Chewonki, I often find myself at the farm harvesting the vegetables I see on my dinner plate later in the week, spraying down and sorting the dishes I eat from each day or sweeping the same hallway I walk down every morning. Each weekday, my cabin and I wake up at around 6:30 am to be on time for our morning chore rotations. Spending each morning tidying up and contributing to the well being of this place has taught me what living in a give and take community feels like. At home, I realize that I take much more than I give – I consume, purchase and drive constantly but never stop to think about my actions or my southern California lifestyle.
This concept reminds me of Newton’s 3rd law – “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Here at Chewonki, every action evolves into the next, and, given our schedule, there is no time to be thoughtless. I have fallen into a rhythm of cleaning up after myself and putting more thought into everything I do.
Audrey Larson, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, Ladera Ranch, CA