We’re in session at Camp Myrtlewood in Oregon – this is a guest post by camper Anika M.
I woke up in Forest Dell to a lovely wakeup call of Vick singing an “in since” song. As she left the sound of rain came back into my awareness, and I smiled. Because of rain, and good company. Because of warmth and my aching body from being challenged and accepting.
Clothes and to breakfast. A knowing smile from a friend as she serves me some food. I start to laugh because yesterday. Was so. Good. A huddle sharing old stories in the kitchen.
The rain makes everything look extra alive. Thriving, happy. The trees seem to be growing at now three times the rate, the river is gathering what water it wants, and the people are cuddled up on the porch, and in the lodge. Something that could make one sad or feel stuck. Rain. Instead results in bananagrams and Ping-Pong games. A couch is drying by the fire, and people gather round to see the giant banana slug caught by the creek. The rain brings the creatures out and gives us a peek.
Today is a rest day. Check in and morning meeting. On a couch, lucky to get a good seat. A lovely girl sitting in front of me. We sing. “I love myself so much, so I can love you so much, so you can love you so much, so you can start loving me.”
Writing and cuddling with Aubri on the couch. Realizing a line is forming, I get up to eat lunch. A friend date with Miriel. Shepherds pie and cold falafel. I fill my plate and eat as many falafel as I can possibly fit. A heated conversation between Mamma and Papa bear, about mnemonics.
Paper planes plays in the kitchen and I watch the people dance. The people dance and the music dances to my ears. My heart dances and the smiles spread. To the face of the girl across from me, and the face of one that was previously not. Smiling.
I walk outside to see a green field and popping yellow flowers. A thriving garden, a sprouting seed, and all of these trees loving me. I love them right back. And I feel protected. The air is crisp and so easy to breathe. Like it is already part of me and I am part of it. I feel like every breath I breathe makes me more connected. Part of this land that is holding me and everything I believe in. Butterflies tumble in my tummy when I think of…
You, and you, and you, and you, and you, and her. And me.
Little monkeys walk the tightrope, in overalls and patch covered jackets and jeans. Jumping, swaying, falling, trying again and succeeding. Sometimes. But sometimes not. And that’s okay. Because that’s not what matters.
Someone is hiding in a tire. Someone else is falling in love. Someone is sitting to admire a tea cup hot like a heart. And I am listening, watching, and trying. Trying to fathom how lucky I am. Trying to fathom how happy I am. Trying to fathom camp.
Chocolate bars and love. I receive a package from my momma with stickers inside, and sit with the best junior staffer, Moyer. This is home. Almonds, and stickers, and music, and love. This day feels like it’s gone too quickly so far. I change into my ninja turtle pants and fresh pink socks. For dinner we have breakfast and I eat a vegan pancake. Dinner with beautiful people, inside and out.
The rain starts to pitter patter down again, and I lean against a tree for some shelter. Bella gives me a wonderful hug before I cuddle back down in the lodge to listen to funny music played on pianos and Ukes. I snuggle in to watch a movie but first get a presentation called “How Not To get your heart broken at Not Back To School Camp” but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to manage that.
It is only the night of day four but I can already feel the pressure of camp time slowly slowly running out. My day is coming to an end and my eyes are feeling heavy. I lay my head on my pillow and immediately fall asleep.