Rachel Field ’11
The Chester rolled slowly in the periphery of my vision on one particular July morning. I was surrounded by still clumps of bluestem, switch grass, and fescue as I waited in the full sun for a grasshopper sparrow to perch up on a twig. This was my second year of field work at the Chester River Field Research Station and the beginning of a long relationship with the Chester River. A warm southern breeze toyed with the grasses before moving down to the water, creating sparkling ripples on its surface.
That one moment stays with me: the smell of hot dirt, the feel of moving air, and the water sliding around the edges of my vision. One thing flows to another, and a river shapes a person as much as a person shapes the land. While at Washington College, the river was as much a teacher as anyone. In those hot summer moments, or in the drab grayness of winter, the river continued slowly on its rolling voyage to the sea. It wandered, shaping the edges of its banks, overflowing into the streets, just as I was shaped, changed, and nudged past boundaries.