Every morning when I wake up, as the sun beams carry the 47 degree breeze through my cracked window, the first thing I notice is the fresh green leaves of the tree outside my window. Over the past few weeks, I have lost visibility of the house across the street as the small green leaves grow bigger and bigger. At Chewonki there was a Staghorn Sumac tree outside my window, but I only ever saw its bare gray branches. Had we gone back after spring break, I would have witnessed the growing green hue on my face as the early morning sun shines through the windows. While the trees outside do not have the torch shaped red berry clusters, I am grateful to have some grounding factor between my woodsy cabin and suburban room.
I wake up earlier than most. I always have. Once the birds start chattering and the wind creeps through my window, I’m awake. While lying still half asleep in bed, the silent streets of Quarantine remind me of Sunday mornings on Chewonki Neck. My cabin mate and I, the only two earlier risers in the South Hall/Binnacle area, would walk silently together to the laundry room. There we would sit and do homework with the heat of the Bluemont room counteracting the draft coming from the doors leading outside. It was always cold in the morning. Even if it was predicted to be 50 degrees that day, the swallowed rock before the steps down to Binnacle and South Hall was always frozen over in the morning. On weekdays when the bell tore us awake, the ice seemed a danger. But there were mornings when we could take our time and watch the morning light reflect the refrozen ice spattered with leaf and pebble remnants.
I miss looking out our windows to see the lights from the house of people I know. Here, I look across the way into neighbors I know are named John and Ginny, but have never shared a meal with. Our neighbors on the other side of our house have just moved in. Unlike Chewonki, we have a leg up in the neighborhood as we have been there longer. I seem to have lost the feeling of safety and familiarity even in a neighborhood I live in and have gone to school in my entire life. I know I will venture from the endless web of newly paved roads back to the comfort of the muddy dirt road leading home.