Saturday, November 28, 2015

Unplugged by Sarah French

On Monday, November 9th, we visited Las Alturas for three days.  OTS owns a small cabin in Las Alturas, which is a large area of private, protected land.  The owner of the land maintains a small dairy farm and greenhouses to supply food to the community, but it is mainly conserved land.  The plants grown in the greenhouse are experimental; here, the most common and highest yield crops we are used to seeing elsewhere cannot be found, but rather the agriculturists and resident agronomist try to grow plants from different regions, ones that need lower levels of pesticides, and see what works best.
            We had spent the past week in San Jose and were all pretty fed up with the traffic, air pollution, and noise.  There could not have been a more perfect place for us to visit and unwind.  We did not have Internet, electricity, or any assignments looming over our heads. We were completely unplugged.  We hiked, ran, and learned from the farmers and gardeners working the land.  During the nights we all spent time together playing card games, talking, singing, and reading.  It was a much-needed break from technology and reintroduction to being together again, as we did not have the chance to see one another as often in San Jose.

            Our time in Las Alturas felt like summer camp. The wooden building smelled just like the cabins at my camp. We were unplugged, 100% present in the moment. That is one of the most special things about summer camp, there are no distractions; friendships kindle in a heartbeat.  Though we had already spent three months together in nature, in Las Alturas it felt different.  It was truly just us, and we were really out in the middle of nowhere.  I felt a true sense of contentment.  Looking back on this semester, I know that sitting on the porch that first day at Las Alturas singing along to Keaton playing the guitar is a moment that will stick with me forever.

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