As defined in our first Literature reading assignment of the semester, The Rediscovery of North America by Barry Lopez, querencia “refers to a place on the ground where one feels secure, a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn – a place in which we know exactly who we are.” Its importance is such that “our search for querencia is both a response to threat and a desire to find out who we are. And the discovery of querencia hinges on the perfection of a sense of place.”

Photo by Mackenzie Howe

The Island School strongly emphasizes the importance of having a sense of place for a specific area and having time to reflect on our personal doings and think about the meaning within the beautiful place we are living for these three months. By this idea we are encouraged to find our own querencia or place where we feel most at home. Island School students got their first exposure to what querencia really means when we chose our personal spots this past Thursday. We were given three hours for our first querencia time to find our spot and reflect upon three writing prompts exemplifying our natural history, personal narrative and descriptive writing.

Photo by Mackenzie Howe

Many of us were able to find our querencia spots rather quickly, but I on the other hand, had trouble finding the perfect place that I wanted to be connected to. I tried three spots before finally settling on a place on the white sand of No-Name Harbor where I was able to feel completely alone. I had never explored much of the island before, so when finding my spot, I tried to lose myself in the overgrown back-roads eventually leading me to the beach. After having ample time to decompress and reflect upon the past busy week, I started my journey back to campus which I found to be much more difficult than my bike ride there. I attempted taking a different route thinking that it would get me home quicker but got lost multiple times. Thankfully I eventually found myself at the entrance of campus again. After much thought, I realized the virtue of my spot being so remote; although I was lost in the woods, I could confide in the fact that my querencia spot was far away from anyone else where I could truly reflect by myself and work on my “perfection of a sense of place.”

By, Mackenzie Howe