Who’s Afraid of the Dark?

by: Jordan Tanguay&Michael Greenwood

Gloominess has descended upon Arcadia. The sun has only shown its face once in the past seven days, and especially since daylight savings ended, we’ve had less and less light. The power is out; our food is potentially rotting in coolers outside; and at night, we can only see by the faint light of candles and our headlamps. The rain and snow has created a slush that has settled around Arcadia, giving rise to the newly named Massawepie Mud Pit. Temperatures continue to drop, making our showers more difficult and any gathering of Arcadians much smellier. In short, life here seems undesirable, but we couldn’t care less. In fact, this week has been filled with memorable times and lighthearted spirits all around.

We took full advantage of the dreary weather by dressing up in costumes for a Halloween-themed class field trip to the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington. We arrived dressed as hunters, loggers, vampires, beavers, grandmothers, ballerinas, and E.H. Ketchledge (author of the classic field guide Forests and Trees of the Adirondack High Peaks Region). In turn, Steve and his staff showed us wolves, bears, coyotes, lynx, and many birds, all of which were rescued animals. The day was a bright moment in our Ecology class because we got to see animals we’ve been talking about for the whole semester.

As darkness settled once again on Arcadia, we fell into the spirit of Halloween. Dinner was a spooky witches’ brew, which was followed shortly by trick-or-treating in the kitchen and lots of candy in return. Some of us dared to venture into the night in search of the haunted trailer. We traveled to the abandoned Camp Forester and proceeded to get lost on its confusing roads. We didn’t find the trailer, but we did run into some nocturnal rodents on our journey. The Halloween holiday brought joy even on a gloomy, misty day.

To further combat the changing season and lack of light, we spent part of Thursday piling the firewood that will keep us warm until Thanksgiving break. The wood was put to quick use for warm saunas and cozy dinners in the kitchen.

That warmth was especially needed on Saturday when we set out to help build platforms on a section of trail along Lake Massawepie. We have used this trail quite often this semester and noticed that it was in need of a serious facelift. With the guidance of Ben Geiger and his friend Peter, we got busy in the mud and fresh-falling snow. We built ninety-six feet of wooden platforms along the trail, which, we hope, will keep the boots of future Arcadians dry.

Sunday, a few brave souls decided to wake up before the crack of dawn in order to catch the first light of the day on Mt. Arab. Guided by headlamps through snowy treetops, they began the celebration of Eliza’s twentieth birthday. That evening we ate stone soup and Boston cream pie, inspired by the fact that Eliza lives a “stone’s throw from Boston.” After dinner, what could have been a dark, boring night in the kitchen instead turned into an energetic and exhilarating competition of blowing out candles.

Come Monday, the positive vibes from the previous week were incorporated into our final sit-spot performances in our Knowing Nature class. Throughout the semester, we’ve each been visiting one spot near the village that resonated with us. On Monday, we each did a performance that encapsulated what that spot meant to us. From playing songs on the guitar to reciting poems to interpretive dances, each of us had a unique take on what our sit-spots meant to us.

This week marks the last full week of classes at Arcadia. While some might expect us to be looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, we’re making our own light by enjoying all the little moments we have left with each other.