Coming Full Circle The sun beats down on my back as I sit on this rock at the mouth of Nahmakanta Stream, just two days’ travel to home on 4th Debsconeag. The North Stars are taking a solo day: 10 hours in which to read, write, meditate, or just tune into the natural world. After 8 days of hard paddling from Ambajejus to Turkey Tail Lake and back up again, this time for rest is precious. I’ve been out on the trail for nearly as long as I have been at camp this summer – but Chewonki is the sort of place where you notice the subtle passing of time by Dottie introducing the new bird of the day, and not by the ticking of the clock. I’ve learned not only the songs in the blue books passed around after meals but also the songs rising up from my own heart, and as I sit on this sunny rock in meditation I am also humming in harmony with the wind, and the buzzing of the dragonflies, and the water flowing out to Pemadumcook Lake. The sound goes down from my chest and into my arms and legs, feeling my bones with easy vibration and working the tightness from my muscles and joints. Coming full circle doesn’t mean returning to the very beginning. I have gained so much confidence and learned so many skills these past 10 days, as I have grown more comfortable in a wilderness setting and more adept at making decisions. Coming full circle, to me, means stumbling upon a path you’ve walked before. It’s a time in which to reflect on your growth since your first passage, and also enjoy the feeling of beating down a familiar road. It could happen while lowering a canoe from your shoulders or sitting down to eat dinner with the same people you enjoyed breakfast with. Coming full circle, it seems, is a benchmark worthy of celebration, and a sign that perhaps pieces of time can be linked together like substance. The vantage point from the present moment is like looking down at the spiral of a spider’s web dewy with emotion like the windy waters of Nahmakanta Stream. This in turn, reminds me of Wood Sorrel’s last night at camp when the sky could find no better metaphor for their departure than to send two rainbow arcs across the otherworldly sky. The glassy waters of 4thDebsconeag brought the rainbows into a perfect circle, just the way my reflections today are leading me. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Eloise Schultz attended Chewonki’s Semester School this fall. This summer she is a member of our Leadership Training program, also known as the Northstars. She and 4 others spent the first session together in their own yurt and went out on their own 10 day trip from which this is written. Now in the second session of the summer they are dispersed and are assisting with all facets of the job both living in the yurts with campers as well as heading out on their trips. So many of our participants, like Eloise, have experienced other Chewonki programs. There are common threads and philosophies among them, however each program has its own objectives. For us at Girls camp it is to provide educational experiences that foster an understanding, appreciation and stewardship of the natural world. By camping and traveling in small groups, the girls and young women experience many rich dimensions of wilderness living while gaining self confidence, cultivating relationships with peers and leaders, learning a wide variety of skills, and deepening their knowledge of the wild places. Today we had campers hiking to the waterfall, canoeing around the lake, canoeing to the boat landing and loading their boats on the trailer in preparations for tomorrow’s departure. We had polar bear swim at 6:30 am; We had bird watching at 6:30 pm. Tonight the campers met and spent time with their “yurt buddy”: we pair older and younger so they have some natural mentoring. At dinner we had carrot cake, made fresh from carrots from our farmer Jason. Joining us for a few days is Jane Barron, a resource woman, who is leading our paddle making activity. Tonight the rain falls and is watering our herb garden. Tomorrow our Nahmakanta Explorers group heads out on the canoeing leg of their trip. Another healthy day of camp.