Maine Coast Semester no. 1

Hello from Maine!

 

It has been almost 2 weeks and things are just beginning to settle in. It feels like I must have been here for at least a month already but it also feels like I just arrived yesterday. The first full week of classes ended on Friday and the next one begins tomorrow morning.

Classes have been a bit strange to get used to again after a year in Big Picture, but so far they are absolutely amazing. My English class is called Literature and the Land, and it is one of my favourites. I despised the last English class I took, even though I have always loved reading and discussions (surprising, because those are the things I always imagined an English class would consist of), but this semester is shaping up to be incredibly different already. My teacher and I get along so well and our entire class is just sharing our writing if we want to and finding meaning within texts we’ve read. Often the connections we reach just blow my mind.

Another extra cool class is called Natural History of the Maine Coast. There are a few different aspects to this class. Namely, phenology, field journals, and actual class time. Phenology, for those who don’t know, is when you take time in a particular spot at regular intervals to see changes in your environment over time. Today, I went running in the woods to look for my phenology spot, but ended up trekking across some seaweed covered rocks to see if I could find any crabs or other animals on the mud flats. I did not realise how muddy the ground would be so, expecting a solid surface to stand on, I stepped right in and accumulated a lovely layer of squishy grey ocean mud on the outside of both sneakers. It was not in vain, though. I saw a crab shell, some transparent little worms, and lots of shells. As for the field journal part, my class took a trip to a small mountain about 30 minutes away for our very first Science Field Trip this past week. Science Field Trip happens every week and each time we go to explore a different ecosystem and document it in our field journals. We hiked up the mountain (comparable to Mt. Philo for those in VT, maybe a little smaller) and drew a site map, a species account, and made lots of observations. I also learned that not all pine trees are actually pine trees. Surprise! Pines have long needles that come in groups, spruces have shorter individual needles that grow from all sides of the branch, and firs have individual needles that grow flat from either side of the branch.

I’m also taking art, which is a nice break from all this thinking I’ve been doing, as well as math and Spanish which is amazing because we speak in all Spanish for the entire class and sometimes my brain doesn’t know how to transfer back to English. Case in point: Lunch was right after my Spanish class and when someone came to sit at our table, I immediately said “hola” to them without a second thought. A minute later, I realised my mistake but it was no big deal and the day carried on. For art today I mixed some watercolours to the exact colour of the water in the sun and in the shade, and also I messed around on the wheel in the pottery studio but nothing turned out mindblowingly good so I just put all the clay I’d used back in the soft clay bucket.

Other notable things: there is an unlimited bread drawer, the food is really good, I hate the smell of milk, there was a wild dance party last night, I found a dead chicken yesterday while doing farm chores, the hens lay SO MANY EGGS, I got to feed a baby cow, and the horse is really nice. Her name is Sal. Life is good.

 

xoxox gretel

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