Settling in to a Snowy New Home in Massachusetts


By Rachel Rothe, SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps Member 

As I drive west through Massachusetts to my new site location, the weather got worse and worse. What started out as a clear and dry day, was now snowy and covered with a heavy fog. I was the first corps member to arrive in Hawley and spent the day (im)patiently waiting for my bunkmates to arrive. It’s only been three short weeks since our first day, and the memories are already fuzzy and hard to recall.

There’s one thing I won’t forget, however, and that’s how much it snowed those first few days in Hawley. I think it ended up being around 15 inches! I asked the staff (with a slight hesitation) if this was typical and what to expect the rest of winter. I was glad to hear that this was an unusual amount of snow this early in the season, and that eventually it should stop snowing.

Our first few days together as a team consisted of a lot of bonding, games, and snow shoveling. It didn’t take much time to learn each other’s names and we continue to learn each person’s story. We’ve all added personal touches to the bunkhouse and have truly made it a space of our own.

For me, the transition to life in rural Hawley has been pretty smooth, but not without its challenges. The cell service is nonexistent and the WiFi has a mind of its own, so we’ve had to find different sources of entertainment. We watch a lot of movies, slip and slide across the frozen pond, and sit together to play and listen to music.

Life moves at a slower pace out here. We often stop to absorb the silence and sounds of the natural world that surrounds us. On clear nights, we look to the sky to see the stars in a way that most of us have never seen them before.

The winter has just begun and there are many frozen and snowy days ahead. I look ahead to the future and wonder how our lives in Hawley will change with the seasons.

Want to serve public lands in Massachusetts? Learn more about SCA’s Massachusetts AmeriCorps program.