Our Joshua Tree session is over now. Here’s one final post, by camper Kay C.
Here I am, sitting in my room, still in shock about being back here. Our Joshua Tree session has ended, and it feels like yesterday that I was scrambling to pack and run last minute errands the night before I had to leave.
The things I’m going to remember most fondly from this session are music making with hippie fairies, stargazing in the sand with beautiful people, eating the most delicious food provided from wonderful people out of the tiniest kitchen, long talks and walks into the early hours of the morning, being the best koala, trying to dance with friends even though I’m horribly out of practice, hearing that one song that almost made me break down on the dance floor.
This session for me was fantastic, and magical, and beautiful in every way you can think of. From the minute my plane touched down in Palm Springs, to the minute I boarded my second and last flight to KC as I waved goodbye to my good friend, camp was beautiful as always.
I came to this session with no expectations, and honestly I wasn’t really prepared for camp to be happening for some reason. Maybe it’s because it happened in winter, I’m still not sure. I think because of that, because I was dreading camp ending before I even left, I didn’t get as much out of the session as I could have and do normally. I didn’t talk to as many people as I would’ve liked, I didn’t integrate myself into different groups and conversations. In one way, the goodbye was easier because of that, but also much harder because I regret not talking and being with as many people.
This post is supposed to be a wrap-up of sorts of this session. A bunch of really wonderful people have each written for the days of this session already, so I feel like I should touch more on the post-camp feelings. After all, that’s where we all are right now isn’t it?
It all seems like a vivid dream. I’m sitting here in my room, stuck in KC with a post-camp cold, and there are no mountains and friends waiting for me outside. Only the same bare wintery trees and grey sky out my bedroom windows. It’s so strange to think that it wasn’t a dream, that I actually was with all of those incredible people and they were with me, and we made the community and culture of camp come alive again. And now somehow, it’s over. And I woke up from the dream back to the real world, where people don’t ask each other about what they’re feeling. On my first flight coming back here, I wound up getting to sit next to one of my good friends. As our plane was landing in Dallas, we talked about camp, and how we felt about going home. They said something that is so very true: “I just want people to understand exactly what I mean and what I’m feeling when I nuzzle my face into their face.” Why isn’t physical affection a thing? Why doesn’t everyone talk about how they’re feeling?
I challenge you and all of you this: To bring camp home, when you’re interacting with a non-camper friend, or a stranger, or anyone, hug them. Genuinely ask them how they are, how they are feeling. Make eye contact with them in as loving a way as possible. Bring camp culture into your daily life.
So how are you feeling? Come talk to me. Go talk to them. Talk to your pet, talk to the paper, talk to your friend. We’re all in similar places right now, on wild roller coasters that are mixes of different emotions. We all react differently to the ups and downs and loops and turns, why not talk to people about how the roller coaster has you feeling? I know it’s hard, but it means so much to send that first message. I’m not good at writing for other people, but I’ve been here before. I still don’t know how to make closure, but I know how to give advice. Just please remember this: If you’re missing someone out there, someone out there is missing you too.
photo of Kay by Reanna Alder.