April 22, 2008

Back Home to Those Indiana Nights

Well, I'm feeling brave tonight. Plus I don't think very many people read this blog. I'm going to post something I've written. I've passed it (and a few other things) around to a few of my friends for opinions because I'm thinking of sending some stuff to magazines and/or literary journals. So, I figure if I really want to be a writer, people will have to read what I write. I mean that is the point. So here's a sample. I will say that what I write about most frequently is camp because of the impact it has had on me over the years. I can honestly say that I would not be half the woman I am today without Green Cove. Anyway, please comment, I love constructive criticism. The title is in the title of this post:)

Tom Petty sang, “I feel summer creeping in and I’m tired of this town again.” If summer creeps in as it does, evenings slowly heating up, days becoming thicker, then so does autumn. It slips into summer like two people holding hands, fingers entwining. Cool nights mix with still hot days. Leaves start to fall and make the air smell damp and crunchy. The breeze no longer carries the smell of fresh cut grass and cookouts. Certain things signal the ending of summer creeping up. The sun sets sooner which leaves less time after dinner to play barefooted outside. Fireflies flicker less frequently. Just as certain are the signs of an oncoming autumn. Aisles overflow with notebooks, pencils and folders at Target and Wal-Mart. Kids proudly sport back-to-school shoes, clothes and haircuts.

I’ve always had one sure sign of summer’s end and the beginning of autumn. Camp ends. Every August I drive, or flew as occasion had it, out of the mountains and away from my summer. I leave behind me a million memories, new friends, a t-shirt and a few socks, and a piece of me that, no matter how hard I try, never sees the cornfields of Indiana. My southern mountain girl stays at The Cove and waits until I return the next summer to the place when the fireflies flicker over the lake and the stars fill the endlessly huge mountain sky. I’ve spend countless hours trying to get that part of me to return home. I manage to bring mold back in my trunk, photos on my camera, and plane letters in my bag but something of who I am, the young woman who confidently directed her counselors, encouraged her campers, scheduled and taught endless lessons never sees the real world. Neither did the girl who didn’t glance in the mirror before she left the cabin, who sang too loudly and off key, who hugged her best friends often and didn’t hold back. People always tell me that I’ve changed at the end of the summer when I return to real life. I know it too. I just wish that my parents, my friends, everyone out here who might doubt me, could see who I am when I am truly in my element.

April 9, 2008

without you

Sometimes I feel like I've broken up with someone when I think about camp. We spent all these wonderful years together, I grew and learned with camp and became me because of camp. I spent my best years with camp. Then, one day I realized that it was time to move on. I unwillingly saw that we needed our distance. We'll still always be friends and someday I know we'll be together again. It was just time, no matter how hard that is for me to admit.

In a little over a month a group of young men and women will gather in the mountains on the shores of Lake Summit and begin orientation. They will prepare for the summer of a lifetime. some will be returning to their home. Others will be venturing into a new and strange land, filled with traditions they can't understand yet and a language all of its own. I very much long to be part of those young men and women. I want to drive down the entrance road with my windows open, the small of the summertime mountains wafting into my car. When I get out I want to see my best friends, sing camp songs and hear the bell. This is a very difficult break up. I constantly want to get back together despite the fact that I know better.

I've been having a lot of trouble imagining summer without camp. Two years ago I was at camp for only the month of June and, not counting that month, that was the worst summer on record. I'm honestly a little scared. That sounds kind of extreme, but hey it's true. Good thing I have a white board full of summer fun in Indianapolis activities to keep me busy. I have plans to learn how to fish on a boat at a lake (which I will jump into fully clothed just for good measure) and then take my new fishing skills to the woods to go camping. I might even learn how to play golf. I'll walk on the canal, listen to live jazz, have picnics, and ride segways. I know that everything will be ok because I have this support system here at home that will make it easy for me to enjoy my summer.

A tiny part of me still wishes that I was slowly gathering up my camping stuff, my oldest tennis shoes, my rattiest t-shirts and packing it into my old and worn trunk and driving down to the mountains where the rhododendron grow.