SCA Member Amosh Neupane Refuses to Be Sad Even Though the Best Summer Ever Is Ending
While loading the hard hats into our van at Floyd Bennett Field, I heard someone ask, “Why are we taking these hats with us to the ceremony?” Someone behind me replied, “Maybe these are our graduation caps.” And it was then that it dawned on me: there would be no going back to work on Monday, there would be no packing up lunch, there would be no waking up in the wee hours of the morning and taking the train to Manhattan. Our morning meetups at Castle Clinton would be history. The SCA YCC crew program for the summer of 2014 had come to an end for me and my friends. With a sorrowful expression on our faces, we all boarded the van to Riss Beach where the ceremony was to be held, realizing this would be one of the last times we would be boarding the crew van together.
Six weeks is a long time, as I kept reminding myself when I first started the crew. Forty-two days is most certainly a long time, but time warps itself when you least want it to. I learned in high school that the class you hate the most is the longest, while the class you enjoy the most passes in a jiffy. The first few days of YCC were like taking a class at the beginning of a new school year. You choose a class you want to take, meet new people and befriend them, learn from the teachers (in our case our crew leaders), and have fun… but eventually you must bid farewell to them. Then people move on. Some move on to a different grade, some matriculate to college while others enter the workforce. Everyone gets busy with their lives, and the memories you once promised yourself never to forget start fading from your mind.
But should I and my friends sit down and mourn the ending of this summer? Are we to cry over the fact that our month-long adventure has come to an end, possibly never to be reiterated? Do departures always have to be the ending? Why do sorrow and departure come in the same package? All these questions have pestered me and will continue pestering me until this chain of “commencement and conclusion” ends.
Hence, starting today I officially stand against the practice of mourning departures and conclusions. At times of departure, we frequently get so fixated on the endings that we overlook our shared past. “Oh man, building that human pyramid was so much fun!” If I had said that yesterday, my friends would have jumped in instantly to agree. But I’m also sure that either I or someone else in the group would also have reminded us of the solemn fact that it would be the very last time we built a human pyramid. With the YCC, I had a great time. Even the word “great” would be an understatement of how much I loved my summer internship. The occasional poison ivy annoyance and gnarly root attack aside, nothing can blemish my memory of one of the greatest summer experiences of my life. So, in order to keep my memory of this crew pure and intact, I won’t mourn its conclusion.
I will remember the first day we met at Federal Hall for our orientation. I will also remember the first day at the site, the crew leaders’ introductions, carrying the tools, working with the tools, talking to people and getting to know them, singing with them, playing with them, complaining about the heat with them, building a human pyramid with them, fighting black flies and planting spartina with them. By remembering these events and others I haven’t catalogued here, I will honor the time I spent with my friends, and the time I spent with SCA both on and off the worksite.
I realize in reminiscing about my experience in the first two paragraphs of this blog piece, I was doing the thing I least wanted to do. Yes, I’m sad and I will be sad. I’m sure all my friends will be as well. But this time we will all bid farewell not by crying, but by being thankful for the great days SCA made possible for us. Unlike some of my friends, I happen to love cliches. So, here I end my journey with the SCA YCC crew on a happy note with this quote by Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”