Arrival Day (Oregon Session 2 ~ by Aubri H.)

We’re welcoming a new group of campers at Camp Myrtlewood in Oregon – NBTSC’s home since 1996. This is a guest post by camper Aubri H, who came early to help out during Staff Orientation.


Arrival Day! Quite a time. Sitting down now on Day 1 to write this I feel much more settled in and at ease than I did the day before. Yesterday was a waiting game, everything held by the tension of 6:00pm, when the bus would arrive and my fellow campers pour out. When I woke up in an empty cabin at 8:30am that was still a distant event, primarily I was looking forward to some kind of eggy breakfast dish and tea.

On the way to the lodge I was distracted by Mieke, Fia, and Griffin just waking up on mats in the field. After shivering a bit next to them, I gave them the ultimatum, either I was going to snuggle with them or head for a warm cuppa tea in the lodge. They’re really sweet so they let me cuddle under their sleeping bags for a few minutes.

Still 1/4 asleep, I played ping-pong with Ollie, which mostly consisted of hitting balls across the room and retrieving them. Breakfast was savory bread pudding, which was obviously absolutely ROCKED, and lil bit of coffee (I saw a pot of it in the kitchen when I was bringing in dishes ssshh don’t tell). I realized the early light was perfect for taking pictures of the forest foliage so I went outside to take a few. A bit later I sat down with Griffin on the mattresses outside the Laurel deck to read. I was excited to get through my current book, The Story of B, so I could start reading another (I feel bad reading two at once, like one will get jealous or something). Over breakfast Dandy had lent me a book we had talked about the night before called Octavia’s Brood, a book of social justice stories in science fiction settings.

The next few hours were a blur of playing with Ollie, Maya’s 4 year old kiddo. We played a lot of his new favorite game, Airplane Pilots, which involves turning the lodge couch pillows into a passenger plane. Though to be completely honest, much of Ollie’s time with me is actually time with Liza, who he has fallen pretty in love with. It’s very cute.

Shoutout to Rae, the wonderfully patient individual who taught me my first ever song on piano, Clare de Lune. I practiced it about 30 times that day by noon, still don’t quite have it yet.
Lunch was Pasta Salad & various leftovers, all really good mixed together. I’ve found that most camp food is really good mixed together. Over lunch I watched Fia decide where she would like to place the poems for her Culmination intention. Many were really beautiful, she shared with me her favorite one and it quickly became my favorite of hers too.
I finally got around to talking photography with Dandy in between pillow cushion flights with Ollie. He let me use his Nikon macro lens and may have inspired me to reconsider film photography, I never thought I had the patience for it.
Around 4:30 I helped welcome the first campers arriving by car, Sara and Seth. I showed them to Dogwood and tried my best to ease the inevitable feeling of being completely overwhelmed. I could imagine they were a mirror image of me last year when I arrived to my first day of NBTSC last year. At the same time, it was odd knowing enough stuff about camp to lead mini tours! I loved it.
By 5:00 we could all feel the excitement, it was now the 60 minute countdown to the arrival of the bus. A lot of standing around and trying to find alternatives to standing around, like taking pictures and bussing dishes.
Finally, after many false alarms, the bus arrived. I did my best to not make the first hello awkward, but they were, as they usually are. Eventually, first hello would lead to “So, how was your flight?” or “Hey, what’s your name again?” and eventually into deeper conversations like The Year Debrief, music, ecology, world travel, feminism, UFOs… you know, the usual teenager crap.

photo of arrival by Dandy Denial
photo of arrival by Dandy Denial

Grace welcomed us in the field and I got a moment to see the faces of all the people I would be spending the next week with, not for one second could I quit smiling. From the field we split up into our advisee groups for dinner, I was super excited to be in Joel’s first ever group. I really appreciated his genuine desire to make us feel welcome and part of a close family within the larger camp community, a shoulder to lean on whenever we should need it.
Grace welcomed us again later on in the lodge, in all her usual poetic splendor. My intention was read: “to figure out what genuine means to me, to make deep friendships, to put romance on the back burner & learn more jokes.” So far I know 2 more jokes than I did yesterday.

Portrait of Aubri by Dandy Denial. Remaining photos by Aubri.