The Maine Event: Letter from the Class of 2023
We write this to you as we wrap up 10 days of traipsing through rain-soaked boreal forests, following moose and lynx tracks up mountains, witnessing trees let go of their summer skin, plucking green crabs out of rocky intertidal zones, and learning each other’s stories on windy two-lane roads.
We began this trip with questions about how the Maine mountains and coastlines were sounding the alarm of a changing climate, how locals were addressing the arising problems on personal, organizational, and political levels, and what parallels and contrasts we could draw to what we’re seeing out on the West Coast.
We come back home with stories of dammed up rivers, a controversial upcoming vote on a power line corridor, species fleeing North due to rising air and water temperatures, a ski resort revitalizing a small-town economy through sustainable development, small island communities fighting to maintain their way of life, natural seasonal changes shifting their schedules, invasive species out-adapting their native neighbors, and peat columns containing eons of ecological history. We leave with many responses, theories, and viewpoints, a handful of answers, and even more questions than we started with.
The moments between asking questions and gaining insights, between hiking up and paddling along and plodding through, between sleeping and waking, were also full. We stacked wood and took freezing lake showers, we wrote in our journals on the dock as the sun sank low behind the hills, played music and cards, baked bread and roasted marshmallows, talked and listened, cackled and cried. A trip like this quickly becomes its own little universe, constantly shifting and changing its energy, teeming with life.
We are so grateful to have spent time in the mountains and by the ocean, at national parks and scenic trails, in the rain and the sun, inside and out. Huge thanks to the Tucker and Highland families for providing us home away from homes for the past 10 days.
We look to the West bittersweet—holding on to what we have just experienced and also reaching out toward what we miss. We return different than we were when we left, and leave you with the words of our own Mollie Grange-Isaacson:
“From this trip I have indeed learned much about myself, my peers and of course life. I could never dent the surface on explaining my new found ideas and love for the world and learning, but I can try to present an idea. Throughout Maine, there were lush vibrant trees just turning colors with the arrival of fall. The whole group was in awe of the foliage—it really made the trip special. We went on many hikes that reminded people of the conjuring, fairy house land, mini verses, the movie Brave, and many more magical places. All along the trip we were lucky enough to have David come with us. David told us many of his fascinating life stories. Carolyn was gracious enough to share her beautiful family’s lake house with us where we had campfires where we talked about music and shared funny stories.
Every night before bed we all congregated to discuss our day. We said our high and lows of the day so we can gain an understanding of how our peers experienced the day and empathize. All of us look forward to this part of the day so we can all decompress together and relax after a long day. Sometimes at this time of night we have deep discussions, sometimes Elia will play us music and sometimes we just joke around. Throughout the whole trip, I myself grew a lot and I know my peers did as well.
Today we woke up in the dark and drove up an hour to watch the sunrise over the ocean. It was a serene communal experience that I have never felt before. All of us tired, but the birds, ocean and trees all resonating with everyone, all of us connected.”
Peace, love, and lobster rolls,
Carolyn, David, and the 11th Grade Crew