This past weekend, the semester went out on our solos. Essentially, we camped out somewhere in the woods for the weekend, by ourselves. We left Friday afternoon, following classes, and each of us arrived back on campus at different times throughout the day on Sunday. We all had individual areas on Chewonki Neck, leading us all to have very different experiences.
Heading into this, I was ecstatic to finally get some rest from all the involvement here. When Friday finally came, we set out with a bag of food containing GORP, a sleeve of Ritz crackers, celery, carrots, cheese cubes, and a granola bar. Along with these essentials, we were provided a tarp, a gallon of water, a sleeping bag, and whatever else you think you might need (excluding electronics). Personally, I brought solely a journal, a pen and my sleeping bag; I wanted to have a fairly minimalistic solo. However, it didn’t seem so minimalistic to me after all. For the short time we were there, we did, in fact, have a lot of equipment and materials with us.
After setting out on Friday night, I set up camp near the salt marsh, had some crackers and watched the beautiful sunset, which was one of my favorite parts of my solo. I did not bring a watch; therefore trying to guess the time was a very interesting part of my trip. I went to bed when the sun set and awoke with the sunrise, which was a great feeling. It was fairly chilly each night, but if I was cold, I just popped one of 17 cheese cubes to keep me warm!
On Saturday, I had an extremely peaceful day. It was full of thoughts and other crazy ways to entertain myself, as I was all alone since the previous night, and on through the next morning. I found myself singing, talking to animals (birds and squirrels!), and writing a lot, trying to capture all the thoughts I had. Solos were probably one of my favorite parts of the entire semester so far. I found it was a great way to truly look back on all that has happened here at Chewonki. Each night here, I try to write in my journal, trying to remember all the great things that happened that day. Despite this, I don’t think I have had time to really think about what has happened in these past two months as a whole. We have grown as a community, becoming more and more like a family as the days pass.
I think I discovered how much I appreciate alone time on my solo. I did a lot of personal reflection, realizing just how often people here surround me. Coming from a public school, I go from home to school and back home again, having breaks in between each activity I do. Here, we rarely get a break between activities, so solos for me were a great time to relax and realize all the amazing things happening here. I really had a great experience on my solo: a lot of meditation, a lot of thinking, but most importantly, I changed my values and realized that when living in a community, it is important to take some alone time to come to terms with yourself.
-Maggie St. Jean