Life at Chewonki is much slower than mine at home. Not in terms of moving around or number of events, but in noticing things and the time in a day. The terminology is often referred to “Chewonki Time”– long days but short weeks. Everything is much more focused on the moment and noticing everything going on around you. I’ve realized how much more I’ve noticed on walks and day-to-day events. I see more of it. I notice the ant crawling on the leaves and the spider in the trees that before, I would have just walked by. I’m also more and more in the moment. When we play soccer, I’m playing soccer, not worried about the homework I need to get done, or what’s for dinner that night.
On Monday, we have a class called Phenology. Each student gets to choose a spot on Chewonki Neck and we stay there for an hour. I had heard about this before coming and didn’t understand how I would be able to sit some where for an hour without doing anything. But once I chose my spot, on the edge of the water, and sat down there, I started to notice everything that was going on around me. The water was at extremely low tide and didn’t cover half of what it had a week before. It was lapping at the side of a buoy in the water. There was an ant trying to pick up a reed and carry it away. I watched as it tried over and over again, failing each time. Eventually another ant came over and helped it. Afterwards I realized I had just watched ants for ten minutes and did not even notice the time go by. I never would have done that before. I also watched a spider as it caught a bug and wrapped it up in its web. I eventually had to look away so I would not have to watch it eat. I’ve since noticed how much humans miss by only being concerned with themselves and what’s going on in their lives. Or, how much we don’t enjoy what we’re doing because we’re too concerned about other parts in our life. Everyone is guilty of it.
Walking back from my spot to campus, I thought about how my sister would have been driving home from school or walking the dog, more concerned about getting home onto the computer, talking to friends, as I was when I was home, while I was watching a spider get its dinner. I also vaguely remember my dad being all about in the moment and trying to explain it to me. I never understood, even if I told him I did, until now. I’ve been here for two weeks and already Chewonki has changed me.