Today was a holiday I wholeheartedly embrace. There isn’t any run up. No gifts or cards. But the anticipation, well, it’s palpable.
Mountain Day has been celebrated at my alma mater, Smith College, since 1877. One random Autumn day, the president of the college surprises the students; bells toll in the early morning signifying classes are cancelled – on the honor that you will take the day to enjoy the natural world (not catch up on homework). Part of the tradition includes at least one evening of pre-Mountain Day convenening where restless students carol and cajole at the steps of the president’s house, begging (all in good fun; a pantomime) for classes to be cancelled. The residents of Emerson House, the house I lived in all 4 years, have the honor of blasting the 1812 Overture from the balcony into the Quad as early morning revelry (c’mon you know you do that now). We were a rowdy crowd, and embraced the opportunity to purposefully
annoy wake up our rival houses. On the sacred day, bagged lunches are provided by the dining halls and you head out to hike an Appalachian ridge, pick crisp apples, explore, inhale the day.
As an alumna, you get an email from the college president letting you know – and we do what we can to celebrate, recall, reflect. I for one, throw myself behind this tradition with vigor. Although much of each of our days is spent out doors, and today it was particularly drizzly and wet, we made a special space to celebrate, just the same. WV and I planted rows of veggies in the drizzle (E slept, wrapped on my back), practiced safe chicken handling (E slept, wrapped on my back), and picked peppers by flashlight, despite the rain, for dinner (E and daddy waited inside, stirring the sauce). It was a beautiful day.
We all need more Mountain Days.