Thursday, August 2nd
Today marked the second to last day of our camp together.
Not going to lie here, but the two weeks of this camp have gone way too quickly. We’ve all become such great friends, and I really feel like we’ve become a little family (of sustainable individuals, perhaps). Between us campers, our awesome interns who kept us from getting desperately lost on campus, and our wonderful teachers and supervisors who ferried us back and forth on our daily adventures around the local area, plus teaching us about life here at Smith, as well as copious information about their courses, passions, and anything we would be interested in knowing.
Our day began as always, sleepy and, as the temperature rose with the sun in the sky, we found ourselves off on our adventures for the day. Our first stop after leaving CEEDS was Crimson & Clover Farm, where we met the owner, Jen. When we entered the property, we were first led to the barn where we were given the backstory of the property. Crimson & Clover Farm was a very old farm, dating back several generations, originally belonging to a family by the name of Bean. We learned that the farm had once been an apple farm, and where corn fields now stood there were once apple orchards, and that the barn was where the apples were sold. It was now their distribution point for their vegetables, where people would come and get their fruits and vegetables, which were grown at the farm.
We then were sent to the Pick-Your-Own garden, where people who had membership to the farm would pick vegetables and herbs, as if it were their own garden. Two sections of the garden however, were in desperate need of weeding, and so Jen sent us there weed it, making it look much tidier than it had looked in a while. We were promised that after weeding, we would be given a tour of the farm. After approximately two hours of grueling but satisfying work, resulting in weedless rows of parsley and basil, we were shown the farm. Crimson & Clover Farm grows a variety of all vegetables, ranging from watermelons (of which we ate two and shared one with the three pigs), to sweet potatoes, to herbs, tomatoes, and corn. Because the farm has not been under their ownership for very long, it was still in the transitionary stages of being truly organic – in other words, not certified but on the road there.
Once we returned to campus, we ate our gourmet prepared lunch, and relaxed a bit watching some slow movement videos provided by Candace. Each video lasted approximately 8 minutes, but some were shorter at only about 4 minutes. Each video portrayed two artists in slow movement, in such an environment that everything they did could be completely open to interpretation, with each interpretation being different for each person. For some, the piece of art through slow movement may have seemed dark and threatening, fearful, sexual, sad, or violent. Typically, the themes were dark, and these were typically formed by the type of movements done by the artists in how they interacted with their environment, along with being formed by the facial expressions of the artists. These expressions were limited, but onc could easily tell that they were well thought out and deliberate. In my mind, one of the videos even seemed to have an environmental theme. It showed how humans have changed and grown from primitive apes who were victimes of their environment, to reversing the tables as powerful creatures with nature at their mercy, all through the use of fire.
After discussing the few short films we had time to watch, we went to Unity House to cook with Tamar! In our slow cooking experience, we spent the first part of the session preparing open faced sandwiches, using local products like eggs, cucumbers, vegetables, and green salad. As one of the girls in charge of a small group, I tried to not get lost in the whirlwind that was the kitchen. Everyone was so busy, talking and laughing and cooking and trying to time things correctly, not to mention the sharing of materials and making sure that everyone had what they needed when they needed it! After we finished the first part of the food’s preparation, Tamar gave us some free time before dinner. As it was so hot, we decided that we would jump in the pond and then quickly shower and clean up for dinner, and all wear our dresses. In fact, it was so hot that we didn’t even bother changing into our bathing suits (with me the exception, I’m not one for getting my clothes soaked), and everyone literally raced to the pond across campus. By the time I’d gotten there, everyone had already jumped in, but were all climbing out to jump in again – which we did, screaming and holding hands as all of us cooled off. It didn’t last long though, because we all had to shower.
Once we were back at Unity House for dinner, we were all dressed up and ready for the final preparation of just putting the sandwiches together. We played music and as our friends in the Food Writing program arrived, they sat around waiting for dinner to be served. I had set up my ipod with the music system, and some of the girls actually were singing along to Regina Spektor. The food was, of course, delicious.
When dinner was completed, we left as the Food Writing girls cleaned up the kitchen for us, which luckily for them was not a huge task, and we headed to one of Smith’s many gardens for a Smith style tea party. Much to our surprise, as the tea cups were handed out, we discovered that in each cup was actually ice cream! The previous night, Julie had made homemade ice cream for our special tea party, where we toasted our ice cream “tea” to our TA’s Liz, Seneca, and Lisbet, telling them how great and fun they’d been over our special 2 weeks together, and wishing them the best of luck in university and wherever life takes them. Pictures were taken, some girls cried, all while we reflected on our time together and how quickly it was coming to an end.
Afterwards, as we left the garden, the group of us girls decided that we should all go into town together, because we were all dressed up and it was really our last night together. After stopping at the dorms to wash up quickly, we walked into town. On our way down Elm Street, we heard music playing from the park downtown, and we discovered that there was a free concert going on! Filled with spontaneity, we listened and danced together as a group, and sent our star dancers Michelle and Anastasia (the American one) up in front of the audience where all the more professional dancers were, so they could show off their skills. When the music ended, we window shopped, and made our way to one of the local shops where we got Bubble Tea, something I had never tried before! While hearing about it from everyone all of camp about how great (or how horrible) it was, I knew I had to at least try it, despite being someone who is hesitant about eating unfamiliar food. (One of the great things I picked up while at Smith – not to be afraid of trying new and different food!) I was quite shocked to learn the the famed “bubbles” in the tea were not carbonated bubbles, but actually round chunks of this gummy substance called “tapioca”, which tasted like black tea in a strong and gummy form. I don’t think I’ll be trying it again.
By the time that we had all ordered our iced teas, which may or may not have had tapioca bubbles in them, we walked back to Smith together to ensure we were back in the dorms before curfew, on our way dropping some smiles and coins to a busker, who was playing some lovely classic accordian music.
Our last activity together that evening was in the common room of Northrup House, where we simultaneously watched the olympics and made cards for our TA’s and professors, Reid, Julie, Leslie, to be given to them the following day at Macleish Station.
It’d been difficult to think and comprehend just how quickly camp has passed, and how in that short period of time, just how close we all became, between our crazy trips in the van and singing “Call Me Maybe” at the top of our lungs while dancing around as much as we could while remaining in our seats, to the lectures we went to where we learned things we hadn’t even thought of or even knew existed, to our visits at farms and gardens, and even people’s personal homes to experience a new lifestyle which we would not have otherwise experienced. I know I’ve cherished our time together and everything I’ve learned, and, as I know I can speak for all of us girls, that we’ll remember this summer as one of the best.