By Ariel Duran, Phase I Fellow
Last weekend was the AMI Alumni Weekend, a time when past Fellows are invited back to enjoy some time in a place where so many memories have been made through the years. It seems like everyone who has been here has a favorite sit spot, a place to watch the sun set or rise, and so many unique memories of the space and the people they shared it with.
I first came to AMI on my own, personal journey. When I got here, I realized I was sharing this journey with the other Fellows in my cohort. Now, I also know that what brings people back together year after year is just as powerful as what brings them here in the first place. Being around those who made the journey - here, away, and back - is a reminder of just how special the time spent on the mountain is.
Together, we enjoyed good food and stories of the moments that made each person’s AMI experience memorable. During dinner, I enjoyed listening to past Fellows stories and sharing some of my own.
After dinner, I needed to do farm chores and got some help from an alumni. On the drive down to the garden, we stopped and he pointed out the best echo spot. We obviously had to use the opportunity to turn the mule off, count to three, and shout at the top of our lungs. Then, just to make sure we didn’t scare everyone else, we let out a few more joyful sounding shouts afterwards. I couldn’t believe it took me four months to discover a spot that I walk by everyday, but I’m grateful that I found it at all. When we got down to the farm, he pointed out other things – some that were different, some that were the same and other spots that gave him joy in his Phase I year.
It’s interesting to think about all the little things that we could easily take for granted now, but some years later, might think back to with fondness. I know that each year and each group brings its own experiences and I’ve tried not to take for granted this space and the short amount of time we spend here. Still, I can’t help but wonder what those things I remember will be, what stories we will tell, and which memories words will not ever be able to do justice to. Those sit spots and places to watch the sun set or rise are meant to be experienced now. They cannot be enjoyed anywhere else but here.