Monday, June 25, 2012

With Eagles Wings

I forgot I wasn't 19 still and stayed up gabbing long into the night Friday and Saturday both.


As it turns out I'm actually middle aged.
Not in my head of course, but the rest of me is saying that's true.

I spent the weekend with old friends from summer camp and when I say old I'm talking about the good kind. The kind of old that means a long long time and not the kind of old that means crows feet and small bladders.

Is this all too much for you today?
It's feeling like it might be too much for me.
I think I mentioned I'm tired. And middle aged.

Last year a reunion was organized on the property of our former campground and it was so much fun we decided a sequel was in order. The campground is still a campground but the girl's camp as we knew it has moved to another property site. The grounds have changed a lot since the 1970's, but when we're all together we fall right back into our old vocabulary. It's the Dining Hall, the Craft Shop, and the Lodge just as it was 3o-something years ago.

All my life I've struggled to explain how I feel about this place and these friends to people who were never there. It's a piece of my heart that remains tender, that when pricked spills out in both laughter and tears.

I've written a couple of posts in the past (here and here) in my attempt to put thoughts and feelings into words, but the finished product wasn't very satisfying. So here I am again-full head, overflowing heart, the right words still just out of reach. Perhaps there are some things in this life that aren't meant to be described, only felt.

Some forty years ago many of us were campers. We sailed and rode horses and ate in a dining hall. We sat on dusty cabin floors or atop sleeping bags laid across a bunk as we shared things weighing heavy on our young hearts. Moving into the college years we became the listen-ers, camp counselors to cabins full of campers unpacking their troubles along with their tennis shoes. We taught canoeing and John 3:16. We laughed and sang and prayed. We wrote letters to many of these campers throughout the school year and we pray for them still.

Thirty+ years have somehow come and gone since I was a camp counselor. The pool may be new and improved, the buildings painted or moved, our bodies older and our everyday lives separated by geography, but that thing that made camp camp?

It remains.

Camp was always a refuge, a safe place to learn and grow, to speak without fear from the deepest part of your heart. We united as staff members way back when and shared life in all its multi-layered glory and despair.

We still do.


  1. How blessed you are to have had THIS and to still be able to share time with those who had THIS with you. You words express how unbelievably special this was/is to you.

  2. I'd say you've done a great job in describing your feelings concerning summer camp--such a great job that it makes me wish I'd had been there, too!

    So glad you had another great time re-connecting with old friends. You can always catch up on sleeping later!

  3. That is SO cool! Glad you had such a good time!

  4. what a wonderful post :) some reunions can be nerve-racking but this one sounds just about perfect :)

  5. I think you said it right...that some things aren't meant to be described,only felt. I do think you have conveyed the importance to you of the camp experience very well, but the true meaning is something that will be held in a special place in your heart.

  6. Though I've never had the summer camp experience, I've watched plenty of movies about it. Your post reminded me of all those good movies, it's great that you guys stayed in touch for so long, it makes me wish I'd gone to camp too!

  7. Glad you had a good time re-experiencing your camp love. I believe my oldest daughter has the same feelings about camp.

  8. There are some things that even time cannot change.

  9. I love how you are trying to put into words things that are in your heart about a time long ago. I have had those same feelings. What does this place evoke in me? Why can't I express it? Yes, I can identify with those same feelings. I think you are right. How do we explain the things we feel? I think it is partly a deep spiritual connection that we have when we are in fellowship with God, people, place, and time. We carry such times in our heart.

  10. "That thing that made camp camp? It remains." You really capture it - that feeling of safety, of being away from, and outside of, the pressures of every day life. And of feeling genuinely cared for, recapturing a fellowship that is too often missing. Thanks!

  11. I think it's wonderful that you have such vivid and warm memories (and friends!) of your times at camp!