A Mid-November Saturday Well Spent

My Saturday started off bright and early at 6:10 for farm chores. It was very misty and foggy as the sun started to rise over the dew-covered gardens and pastures. Completing the various tasks we were set (mine was feeding and mucking the cows) around 7:10, the sun shed angelic beams through the trees, illuminating the mist and stillness of the air. One of the prettier mornings I’ve been fully present in.

Breakfast consisted of fantastic overnight french toast, and as a treat, morning meeting took place in the Flintstones. The Saturday morning activity was described as a “walk in the woods” led by Hannah and Tom. From 9-11 we traversed the swampy paths between each of the 5 main southern points of the neck, each time conversing with a partner about various prompts. There were virtually no clouds in the sky over the sparkling Back River. After the activity we had no further obligations of the day except lunch at 12 and dinner at 6:30. The temperature had risen significantly from the morning, and I spent my free hour reading outside my cabin. Lunch was a baked potato with bar-style toppings and banana crumble cake for dessert. After being humored by our Leader of the Day (Jack) and announcements, we were free until dinner. 

Knowing the sun would be setting around 4:30, I planned to spend most of the remaining daylight at my Phenology site on the northeast side of campus. I aimed to leave around 12:45, but got distracted by cabin mates measuring the volume and surface area of one’s feet. I headed off toward my site by way of Eastside Pasture, with still no clouds in the sky. I was surprised to find a tree had fallen across the path, which I had to clamber over as one hand was used to protect my camera. I spent the majority of my time exploring and noticing what had changed at my site since I had last been, which was 21 days because of Solos. A good amount of the once green vegetation has started to brown, but I will still argue I am lucky enough to have the prettiest site out of everyone. Our assignment was based around moss and lichen, which I observed on decaying and living plant matter around my area, drawing an example of each in our notebooks. I started feeling chilly around 3, and headed back through the woods. I returned by way of the farm to take the opportunity of the golden day to take some photos of the sheep and cows in their pens beside the barn. I got a little too close to the fence, however, and was shocked. Always amusing. 

One of the most interesting parts of weekends is how empty the campus feels. The majority of the faculty aren’t around, I hardly see more than a dozen individuals between meals. It does give a sense of loneliness at times when you have nothing to do and just sit in silence, but when everyone reconvenes at dinner you feel safer than ever. I had planned to meet with someone to discuss our science projects as we are tackling the same topic; Mycorrhizal Networks, but they were busy and we planned to meet at study hours tomorrow. Now having an even freer afternoon than planned, I pondered what to do.

While walking back to the cabin I noticed the abundance of activity at the bird feeder, and thought to watch the chaotic scene unfold for a while. After a few minutes of sitting, I had the idea to place my camera on the bird feeder and take a video to try to capture close-up footage of the various birds that visited the feeder. For the next hour or so I burned through two camera batteries and (hopefully) captured some decent shots of the numerous birds flapping about the feeder: There were many Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, some Sparrows, a pair of Downy Woodpeckers, a member of the dove family, a male Cardinal, and in the distance I could see a Red-Bellied Woodpecker hop up and down a dead Pine. There were also some well-fed squirrels dashing through the trees, some field mice scurrying about, and what I think was a vole that lives under the cinder blocks that hold the feeder in place? I will ask Megan about it when I see her next. 

Dinner was soup and bread prepared by Paloma and one of her Spanish classes with the help of some volunteers. After dinner was the Saturday Night Activity, this week’s planned by South Hall. It was “Slumber Party Night,” complete with games (mainly poker), nail-painting, collaging, a sleep room, and a projection of Just Dance 3 that hailed a constant crowd dancing to hits of the 2010s. Should one journey down to the Health Center they would hear the stomping of feet on the floor above them pretty easily. Everyone attended in pajamas or ‘comfy clothes’ and were greeted with cookies. It was raining and the ground was slippery by the time the activity ended around 9:45. After assisting in the clean-up, we were free to do what we pleased until check-in at 11.

I took a trip in the dark down to the waterfront and watched the wall of rain slowly blur the lights of the houses across the bay for about 20 minutes before heading back up the hill to the cabin. One of our cabin mates was already sleeping, so our night was pretty quiet. Unlike everyone else we had to be up at 6:10 again for farm chores the next morning, and we all fell asleep around 11:30. Tomorrow it is supposed to be sunny, and I hope it is just as beautiful.

Jasper Drake, New Vista High School, Longmont, CO


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