Like clockwork, the early days of September greeted us with the first cold northerly breeze of the season, a canary sign of the winter that lies ahead. We felt so fortunate to have had a wonderful fall season of programs on Hurricane, with busy days of students exploring the island and the sense of community that gives a certain sense of purpose and meaning to the island. But as October came around, the last of the students boarded M/V Equinox and it became time to start putting the island to bed for the winter.
There is a bitter-sweet feeling that comes with closing down the island as it marks the end of the season. It is a time for reflection and contemplation, for putting things in order and taking stock, and also a time to look ahead and assess and contemplate what the future may hold. It is a process that perhaps mimics the natural world, that we can observe in the species around us, a necessary preparation as the island too needs her time to rest and reflect over the long, cold months ahead.
It is no small undertaking to prepare the buildings and systems for the winter, but much work was done in a short amount of time with the help of the solid Hurricane crew of Josie, Chloe, Phoebe, Jenn, and, of course, Oakley and Silas (rumored to be part of the band of "Bacon Brothers", these suspicions have not been substantiated). Buildings were secured for the winter, wall tents dismantled and stored away, spaces were cleaned and organized, boats and floats hauled, and finally the water system drained and winterized. Much thanks goes to the Cabot Lyman and Chip Bauer of our Infrastructure Committee who have been vigilant and thoughtful about designing the systems to be simple yet robust to minimize, as much as possible, the daily and annual maintenance that is necessary to keep the island running. And much thanks to the staff for developing systems and procedures that make close-down smoother and smoother every year. It is comforting on the blustery winter nights to know that that Hurricane has been properly secured for the winter, and that the when we open the island back up in the Spring that everything will be ready to roll.
We still plan to visit island throughout the next few months to check on things as we move through the winter. Spending time on Hurricane in the winter is a wonderful experience and one of strong contrast to the days of July and August. Although the quiet and solitude of days on the island in the winter are beautiful in their own way, the busy days full of activity and students and programs are very much missed. It is a good reminder and inspiration to continue to develop the mission of this organization and to continue to build the community on Hurricane Island.