For the past 35 years at Green Meadow, it has been a tradition that the senior class takes a week long trip to Hermit Island in Maine, as part of their Zoology block. Although students look forward to this trip from the beginning of High school, not much is said about what the trip is like or what to expect. Over the years, I heard a few things about Hermit Island; that there are messages left for future students to discover, beautiful beaches, and beautiful sunsets, and from this I imagined a campground that might be found in Harriman State Park in upstate New York, (I didn't know where the messages fit in). With this expectation in mind, I joined my class at 6:45am at the school and clambered on to the bus ready for the seven hour drive.
When we finally got there we each stepped off the bus and stretched as the pure, fresh, crisp air swept over our faces. The air was so energizing! We went about setting up our tents and settling in, and then went about orienting ourselves to our new surroundings. We walked down to the beach and out to the point of the peninsula admiring the scenic views all around. We looked down and could easily see eight feet down to the ocean floor where small animals and rock were swept back and forth in the never ending waves. The water stretched to the southern horizon, the land warping around from the sides finally bring our sight back to the rest of the island. A green paradise wrapped in a white skirt of sand. That night the sky was ablaze with pinks and oranges, reds and purples. As the colors faded we enjoyed our dinner around the campfire and settled in, relaxing under the starry sky.
The next few days were full of exploration, learning and relaxation. Although we were still having main lesson and learning about the marine life around us, and English classes, we had plenty of time to wander the wilderness contemplate our own thoughts and take a breath from the crazy world of college applications, deadlines, and everything else we had left behind in the “real world” for these six beautiful days.
For me, this trip allowed me to collect myself, spend time with my thoughts, and center me back in a balance of work, socializing, contemplation, and relaxation – a balance that I find hard to keep for myself normally. The days went by quickly and suddenly it was Friday night and we were packing up and preparing for our early morning departure the next day. Over the past six days this place became our home, we appreciated that we were able to walk under the expansive sky and and through the wonders of nature and consider this our home. As we drove away the next morning, it was difficult not to be sad, but the peace and happiness we had gained from this trip was one that would stay with us for the coming days, weeks and months, helping us and reminding us...take a moment, think, be content.