It was the first weekend here at Conserve. None of us even knew each other, but we could already tell we had a fun group. That night started at the Lowenwood Recreation Center, known as the LRC, playing ping pong and foosball, trying to break the ice and get to know one another. Eventually, people were no longer interested in playing those games, so we decided to take a walk. We all felt this immense feeling of newness and independence. We were determined to make the most of our semester at Conserve School by starting to making new friends and memories immediately.
I was scared; I had no idea how my semester would go, let alone this night of infinite possibilities with all of these new people. We continued to walk and talk and joke around with no particular destination in mind. We walked past the swings. Some of the group I was with decided to stop to swing and play tetherball. While we were enjoying our time together, we noticed how beautiful the stars were that night. We saw how clear and bright the stars shone above us. Then one of the amazing strangers I was spending this evening with decided we should go to sledding hill to see the stars better. We didn't even know how great of an idea this was yet.
Have you ever heard the phrase, "everything happens for a reason?" Well, that phrase felt very accurate for me this night. It was no accident that we ended up taking that short hike up the sledding hill that night; it was meant to be. Once atop the hill, I saw one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. The night sky was illuminated entirely with stars! I came from a city where stars are unseen. But here the stars claimed the night. Then a light voice behind me chirped up, saying, “We should have a cuddle puddle." I was majorly confused, but I stood idle and watched everyone on the hill lay on the hill together, looking at the beautiful night sky.
At first, I refused to lie down, because well, I didn't know these people. Everyone was acting as if we had known each other for years. This situation was overwhelming at first, but if I am being honest, I felt it too, this bond to these people that I had just met, which is why when my suitemate asked me to join, I agreed. At first, it felt fake or disingenuous. I somewhat begrudgingly joined the pile of my peers. As soon as my head hit the ground, though, I felt safe, immense happiness actually, because, at that moment, a shooting star shot across the sky! I felt so privileged to have this experience. As we laid motionless, a pale green light appeared in the distance. Then this light became overpowering in the night sky. It was the northern lights! The real deal! I couldn't believe it; I mean, "what school did I go to, and how is it that I get to see the northern lights!?" That night was the first of many amazing nights at Conserve that I wouldn't give up for the world.
Photos contributed by CS19 students, Zane, Southfield, MI, Alona, Pineville, NC, and Alex, Loveland, OH.