A New Year in Hawley


By: Julia Graham

Mid-October dawned relatively warm for the Massachusetts hilltowns, as 18 new SCA Massachusetts Corps members arrived onsite at the Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest in Hawley. Some of us drove or flew from far away places like California, Washington, Georgia, Texas, or Nevada, while others travelled shorter distances from within New England. Whatever our travelling distances, we all settled into our first community meal Sunday evening, where we started our long journey into what it means to live, breathe, eat, and sleep SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps.

We’re here for ten months. We’re living, serving, sleeping, and eating here for ten months. We will develop a sense of place unlike any of our other living environments. We are tied to this pond, this forest, this hill, because we all have a reason (or two or three) to be here. There will be feet of snow that we aren’t suspecting and mornings when we won’t want to get out of the tent because our bodies are sore from trail work the previous day. There will be mishaps at school because we didn’t prepare enough for each day’s adventures. Some days we will just want to drive away and make a phone call. But most days, most moments, we will be glad we are here, because we are all here for our certain reasons and those reasons bond us together in unknowable ways–ways that will likely not become clear to us until months or even years after our corps time is over. So for now, we will sit and sip tea and watch the clouds graze across the blue sky and wonder at how lucky we all are to have found this place.


This morning a pair of otters drew a few of us out to the edge of the pond. We stood under the pink clouds with our breath visible in the early morning air and watched the two small animals wander through their morning routine across the pond. The sun slowly continues to rise as we all bustle around in the kitchen, preparing for our own day.