By: Gwyn Buchanan
As the weather continues to get colder and colder, it is becoming easier and easier to locate any Arcadian at any given time – all you need to do is look for the fires. On this particularly chilly Monday evening the entire Arcadian population can be found within 15 feet of the woodstove in the kitchen. This week we experienced our first snow of the year and shrieks of joy for the impending season were impossible to stifle despite the fact that many were still sleeping. In response, we’ve all started to retreat towards the comfort of a nice, warm fire in the burn zone and multiple layers of sleeping bags at night. It seems more and more appropriate with every degree the temperature drops to be reading Winter by Rick Bass for our English class, and his idea of firewood as currency makes more and more sence each time one of us brings the maul down on a particularly burly piece of wood.
A week ago today, we were all in much different settings than the familiar wooden dinner table we all find ourselves at tonight. Some of us were at our homes, some of us were exploring other areas both inside and outside the Blue Line, and others were venturing back onto St. Lawrence’s campus for the first time since beginning the Adirondack Semester back in August. Perhaps the greatest highlight of our time away from Arcadia was the precious opportunity we each had to spend time with our individual families for the first time in over two months. Because there is only so much that can be communicated over snail-mail, it was refreshing to be able to have face-to-face conversations with our loved ones and to hear our parents and siblings’ voices. The weekend proved to be eventful for some, and eye-opening for all. It was our first chance to test the waters outside of the small, mouse-infested, hemlock protected occasionally stinky, very hairy, and yurt-accustomed community that had become our collective version of reality in the past two months. Although we all agree that leaving Arcadia for those 4 days was important and that it sure was interesting to use flushing toilets and experience central heating, reuniting with each other outside of the Brewer Bookstore, and again in our yurt village, was celebrated with many hugs and much excitement.
This past Saturday, we had the honor of working with Ben Geiger and his disciples, doing some trail maintenance along the White Trail that runs along Lake Massawepie. We frequently walk along the White Trail in order to access the phone at Gannet, or if the prospect of canoeing to Vingo or Gannet isn’t necessary or particularly exciting, or if we’re just looking to escape Arcadia for a short period of time and know a casual stroll around Holy Massawepie will hit the spot. While some were hammering away at new boardwalks about to replace old ones, others were a part of the Scout Team and looked for the spots that needed them the most. Once our work was done, we all paddled back to Arcadia satisfied with our efforts to better the greater Massawepie community.
Later that Saturday night, we held a talent show, where music, voices, and reenactments were flaunted for all to either see, laugh at, or admire. On Monday, we began our time woodworking at Michael Frenette’s; we’ve heard wonderful stories about the times past Adirondack Semesters have spent at Michael’s and our first sessions with him have lived up to the hype. Since we’ve returned home from mid-semester break, new cook groups have been finding their chemistry in the kitchen; food highlights from this week include shepherd’s pie, baked mac & cheese-y goodness, tofu burgers and stir fry. In short, it’s been a great first, full week back from break. Cheers to the times, meals, and experiences ahead.