By Will Madison and Meredith Cross
October 11 was a very special day at Arcadia; our families visited. The air was filled with excitement as we waited eagerly for our parents to arrive, some coming from as far as California and Oregon and some from as close as Central New York and Vermont. The reunions were beautiful—filled with hugs, kisses, and even more hugs. We then broke off with our Arcadian family to show our guests this beautiful place we have been living in since August. The day concluded with a magnificent feast of roast chicken and stuffed squash that was prepared for us by alumni for the last ADK semester.
As dinner came to an end, the departures began. Some of us went home with our parents for the weekend, some to campus, and some chose other destinations (Quebec, Montreal) to explore with our families.
Each of our breaks was completely different but one thing remained consistent: the understanding that we would be coming back soon enough to Arcadia and each other.
Upon arriving back, we shared many stories of our adventures and happenings over break and the energy of the community seemed refreshed and renewed from the few days off.
The first Friday back, we were fortunate to have a very special guest performer, Dan Berggren, come visit us. He warmed our hearts with soulful songs, stories, poetry, and a bag of chocolate chips! The evening was filled with singing and laughter, and we felt a great appreciation for Dan’s gentle wisdom and perspective on life.
Our first Saturday back at Arcadia was rather different from the previous Saturday on campus or at home. With the help of the incredible planning committee, consisting of one member, Hello-Hallow Fall Fest was created, the brainchild of Klare Nevins. (Hello-Hallow Fall Fest is the product of a highly debated naming process and aims to say hello to both Fall and Halloween, in the form of a festival.)
The day began with the opening ceremonies, which took place on the Arcadian elevated stage, (the kitchen porch). The passing of the torch (candles) commenced as Klare gave an inspirational speech while others sang the wedding processional in the background because we had failed to remember the tune of the Olympic theme song.
Following the opening ceremonies, a rousing game of Stump began the Woodsman Competition for the day. Stump is a game in which you must rotate a hammer in the air with a gentle toss and then fluidly smash an opponent’s nail into a central stump. The player with the last nail standing is the winner. We soon discovered that the whole “gentle toss” and “fluid smashing” part was pretty tricky, so we focused just on the smashing.
Next was the log splitting competition where one by one Arcadians split a log with an axe while the peanut galley rated their level of steeze (steeze being style with ease, or, in the case of Massawepie, style on an easement.) Afterwards, knot tying commenced, which consisted of the bowline, trucker’s hitch, and the bravest of the brave took on the perilous shoelace bow.
Next up was the log throwing competition. Some threw for distance, while others aimed for the hole in a hollow stump that deemed it an instant win. Evelyn was the first to successfully earn the instant win with her signature javelin-like throwing technique. When asked to comment on the matter she stated, “It was the greatest moment of my life thus far. All future log throwers should praise me and worship my name. Javelin for life!” Woodsman competitor Dom Brennan elected to throw a log that perfectly balanced on the edge of the instant win stump rather than in the hole. “I decided not to throw the log into the hole because in those previous ten minutes it had become too mainstream,” stated Brennan.
The rest of the day consisted of events such as canoe squats, pie making, pumpkin carving, and face painting. Assistant Director, Doug Soholt, is now addicted to face painting and if you volunteer your face as his canvas, do not expect any skin to be showing at the end of the session. Just ask Meredith. The night climaxed with a harvest feast including whole roasted chickens with gravy, squash, veggies, rice, homemade bread, mulled cider and warm apple and pumpkin pies.
Falling into food comas, we made our way to the community yurt where our night concluded next to the warm wood stove with singing and the homey sounds of guitars and harmonicas that caused many Arcadians to drift off to sleep.
All and all, it’s good to be back.