By Evelyn Redshaw and Kenny Fowler
Cold came to Arcadia during a week of hard work, hard play, and adventure. The first snow of the year came on Wednesday evening. We got just a few flurries that night, but they ushered in a few days of hard snows (though, sadly, almost none accumulated) and cold winds that only just ended. An increase in the number of clothes our community members wore accompanied this decline in temperature.
Here at Arcadia, we have four boys and eight girls, but sling on some Carhartt pants and six different top layers to stay warm, and gender lines become skewed quickly. While this is by no means a negative aspect of the semester (some may even argue it fosters a stronger community), there comes a time when everyone, both male and female, needs some pampering. Luckily for us Arcadians, we have Hannah and Will to help us through such times.
Will helped out by hosting a bonfire for some male bonding while Hannah, our resident beauty care professional (she has business cards), educated all the girls about why taking care of your skin is important. Then she went through a cleansing, microdermabrasion, and moisturizing session with all of the girls. Our own plain-smelling kitchen turned into a botanical wonderland as the girls splashed warm water on their chilled faces, scrubbed the built-up dirt off, and protected their skin from the upcoming winter months. Before they knew it, they were sitting by candlelight, drinking lavender-chamomile tea and discussing their favorite front-country outfits. They completed the evening with a ladies-only sleepover as everyone felt their freshly softened faces. The next morning everyone work up, slipped on their Carhartts, and prepared for an exciting day.
The cold and snow did not keep us from striking out for adventure. Over the weekend, each of us ventured into the forest by ourselves to find space for solitude. Alone by the water, we had a day and a night to reflect as we began to contemplate the end of our stay at Arcadia. Bundled up in the cold, perhaps our outer appearances were physical manifestations of our introspections; it seems almost as though we added a layer on the outside for every one we peeled away within. A few of us added an additional element of self-exploration by fasting through the solo. All of us found insights about ourselves.
Whether putting on layers to hide from the cold, exfoliating them away with Hannah, or examining these layers within ourselves, we developed new ideas of what it can mean to live in the woods. We now understand that living simply does not necessarily mean living without comfort, and depending on each other constantly does not mean we must give up personal space.