I have to admit that I was nervous last Friday morning. We had really paired down our plans for build day because most of our project leaders were unable to come on the actual date, and only a few people had signed up to participate. Then, during the week, lots of people volunteered to come, which was great, but I worried we didn’t have anything for them to do. I imagined little groups of bored and despondent, formerly hopeful people milling around in hats and work gloves, wondering why I was so unprepared utilize their talents. I imagined them packed into the kitchen while it poured outside, huddling over styrofoam cups of instant coffee, staring grimly at the muddied floor, kindly offering their seats to each other, maybe even taking turns weeping bitterly in the far corner. I imagined patiently trying to explain to each person the predicament, why it turned out like this, but being received, like a foreign diplomat trying in vain to maintain favor after breaking a promise, with icy silence, stiff nods, and untrusting-yet-firm eye contact.
It turns out, though, that people don’t necessarily need to be told what to do. When the time came, tasks and projects seemed to appear out of nowhere to fit the abilities and inclinations of those who were there. Imagine that. The grounds were cleaned up and noticeably improved, new ground was claimed for the playground(!), and several creative structures were built by hard-working teams. And it didn’t even rain.
People jumped right in, got to know each other, made new friends, and generally had a blast working together. Try as we might to maintain our cool, nearly all of us were swept away in ecstatic waves of philia. Human beings are made to band together to accomplish mutual goals; few things are sweeter or feel better. I’d even claim that being part of such communal efforts is an essential nutrient. Today we are well-fed. To all who came out, please know that we are extremely grateful for your work, and even more so for your energy and kindness. This school has always been a communal effort, built by many without centralised authority, the way a school should be. Thank you all again, and see you Saturday!
See the Facebook Album for more pictures: https://www.facebook.com/HudsonValleySudburySchool/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10154287740028804