** It is with great pleasure I introduce Bennet Bergman, a new guest contributor to Cold Splinters. Bergman attends Deep Springs College in California and will be writing about his life in the Sierras. Stay tuned for more “Notes from Deep Springs” in the coming weeks.**
I live in a valley the size of Manhattan in the Eastern Sierras with fourty-four people and 300 head of cattle. The closest town is an hour away, and there’s not much out here: a small farm, a ranch, and an all-male liberal arts college called Deep Springs, which has been here for almost a century. Twenty-eight students attend. The college is free, so besides classwork each week we put in twenty hours of labor on the ranch as a way of earning our keep.
For the most part this place is student-run. We cook for each other from the garden we keep, we choose all our professors, classmates and course offerings, we fix each other’s cars and cut our own hair. We work hard and eat well. Most of us are twenty-year-old boys and since we live on a ranch, it’s been easy for me to get caught up in playing cowboy. But we still like dancing to the sex-pop of Katy Perry and Ke$ha on Friday nights in the kitchen, and we ride horses when there’s time.