I’m back in Maine for the final year of my undergraduate degree. It still seems to me that I only just left Maine for Michigan, full of the nervous excitement I felt about embarking on an adventure in a new-to-me place, with new-to-me people, doing who knows what.
I had very few expectations for this summer, which are not to be confused with low expectations. Having procrastinated on finding the internship that I needed to do before graduating, I took to the internet to find somewhere to live, learn, and love. *cino appeared ala le Google and I sent in a wordy application with fingers crossed.
Weeks later, I was welcomed to Three Rivers with radical hospitality. I arrived road weary, frazzled and a day earlier than anticipated and the Rectory folk cleared me a corner, found me a bed, and fed me; they took me in and gave me space to rest and settle. I was quickly swept into the rhythms of the work we do here and the embrace of the communities we’ve built.
In the ten or so weeks I spent in Three Rivers I helped *cino host the Meet Up Eat Up lunch program (daily lunches for school-aged children), co-created new signs for the garden, planned Community Fun Nights, and organized and created signage for Future Festival. I was the million-questions, bread baker, granola maker, laugh generator. Through the fast paced groove of this summer I was a friend, a listener, and a dish-washing tune crooner.
It took me a while to adjust to my new environment. I had come from the location of the earliest sunrise in the U.S. and found a place where our mosquitoey, wonderful porch dinners were lit via that same sun until ten at night, but soon I was nestled into life and work with *cino.
That summer sun watched over me and kept me warm all throughout this “thinking” summer, as one new friend called it. It was a relatively cool Michigan summer versus those summers we all dread where the sun beats down as we struggle to even gather our thoughts. As I reflect on the ten weeks I spent with the *cino gang, I struggle to articulate how much I’ve learned this summer and how it’s changed my idea of what I’d like to see in the future for myself and the world I inhabit and how to get there.
Those mosquitoey dinners eventually moved indoors; I was welcomed by a web of wonderful new friends who made me feel loved and appreciated; we had long, rich conversations on how to live the “good life” and what cartoon hottie captured our adolescent hearts; and I found a space to celebrate my own contributions and talents: I have lived, learned, and loved this summer with *cino.
Above: Kate working t-shirt stenciling, one of the many projects she took on this summer in her work with *cino.