Brushing up on Community

Living at Chewonki for this past month has opened my eyes to all the behind the scenes work that goes into living an enjoyable, sustainable life. At my sending school, I am not constantly exposed to all the effort it takes to hold a community together. At Chewonki, I often find myself at the farm harvesting the vegetables I see on my dinner plate later in the week, spraying down and sorting the dishes I eat from each day or sweeping the same hallway I walk down every morning. Each weekday, my cabin and I wake up at around 6:30 am to be on time for our morning chore rotations. Spending each morning tidying up and contributing to the well being of this place has taught me what living in a give and take community feels like. At home, I realize that I take much more than I give – I consume, purchase and drive constantly but never stop to think about my actions or my southern California lifestyle.

This concept reminds me of Newton’s 3rd law – “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Here at Chewonki, every action evolves into the next, and, given our schedule, there is no time to be thoughtless. I have fallen into a rhythm of cleaning up after myself and putting more thought into everything I do.

Audrey Larson, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, Ladera Ranch, CA