Every Little Thing
by Meredith McGraw ’08
Sitting at home, I never imagined that my Deerfield experience would be defined, not just by time spent in the classroom, but by moments in the dining hall, at the river, or in a friend’s room.
When the Pocumtuck hills blaze with color in the fall, tiny snowflakes twirl and tumble to a white-blanketed ground, or the morning mist lifts off the quad, I wonder if I dreamed up Deerfield.
I close my eyes and remember how I became a Deerfield student long before I first stepped foot on the brick pathways. As I looked outside my bedroom window to the hills that cling to the Ohio River, the idea of boarding school seemed far away on the pages of novels I read growing up. Letting my fingers drag across the glossy pages of every pamphlet, paper, and picture I got caught up in a world foreign to my own. I let the images piece together Deerfield, and I imagined myself in a different valley studying under the shade of blossoming trees, or discussing issues around a wooden table.
The first time Deerfield felt like home was late one night my junior year. I had just spent the past few hours with friends sharing a batch of brownies my mom had sent, and as we ate, our conversation weaved through different cultural ideas and political views. As I lay down to sleep, my mind buzzed with fresh notions of the world. I watched the luminous moon gleaming down through my window, and I stayed awake a few hours longer, just thinking.
When I went home to West Virginia that Christmas, I asked my dad to drive me past my old high school. I was once again reminded of its enormous beauty—it’s a large historical building, with a brick facade and long horseshoe driveway—but as we circled the school, I felt empty. There were no students laughing happily as they walked to class with friends and teachers, and the looming football stadium cast its gray shadow on the back of the school. I missed my new campus—the one laced with flowered walkways and adorned with majestic trees. As my dad and I drove away, I felt lucky, incredibly lucky. Sitting at home, I never imagined that my Deerfield experience would be defined, not just by time spent in the classroom, but by moments in the Dining Hall, at the river, or in a friend’s room.
I still try to explain Deerfield to friends at home, but no story, no picture, could ever describe the feeling as bagpipers march down Albany Road, “Sweet Caroline” blares at a hockey game or the school sings the Evensong. Even as I celebrate the holidays with family, there is still a part of me that yearns to return to the classrooms, the Greer Store, and the beautiful homes of Main Street.
Now, as I prepare to graduate, I find myself envious of the underclassmen girls on my hall, who have a few more years to enjoy this place and every little thing it offers. During school meetings or at sit-down meals, I find myself in awe of the students sitting around me and realize that I may never again live in a place with such a concentration of talented and remarkable people. I am privileged to have been taught by some of the best teachers in the country, but regardless of what I learned seated in the classroom, what I prize the most are my relationships with friends, teachers, proctees, advisors, and coaches. Those treasured bonds will last forever.
My two years in this home will always seem too short.