Awakening to the assurance that there WILL be potatoes at breakfast I drag myself out of the cozy cocoon that is my sleeping bag and into the chilly morning air.
Following the hearty breakfast I speedily transform into an apron clad dishwashing superhero, saving the masses from the mounds of dishes piling up in the kitchen. Once my mission is complete I join the check-in line so that the staff may make sure we’re all still alive. As I get checked in I am alerted to an instance of lice at camp. A staffer marks my name and I join the multitudes queuing up to receive a head check. I come up clean and lice-free! A couple others are not so lucky and are sent to Mama Bear’s cave for treatment. The remaining campers gather in the lodge for morning meeting which begins with announcements by junior staff and dedications from Fairy Godparents to their Fairy Godchildren – dedications of the daily quote, and the hug number. My Fairy Godparent gifts me with the opportunity to end a round of applause.
With the conclusion of morning meeting we disperse into our advisee groups.
The Lodge, softly lit, is a creative space. Danielle guides her project through releasing Art from its confines and into the air. Today we explore drawing as a form of expressing thoughts and feelings to others. I am challenged to draw what fear feels like to me. It is hard but once I start, the symbolism and colors create that emotion on paper.
As we work, Danielle notices my tendency to draw objects – and that I struggle to let go of my preconceived visualizations and just draw with colors and motions that reflect my subconscious inklings. She again challenges me, this time to work through my discomfort and just draw. It is difficult and causes slight anxiety but as I mark the page my thoughts slow down. I worry less about what the drawing looks like and more about how it feels. It feels calm.
In other news a delicious lunch is served and soon after, the siesta bell is rung. This hour is filled with napping, creating, reading, and quiet conversations. I spend my time writing with friends as they drew and talked. The bell rings again to signal the end of siesta and commencement of workshops.
John Jones, a retired camp manager, leads a walk through the Camp Myrtlewood property while presenting information and the history of the ecological forestry management utilized on this land. The beauty of the surroundings enhance his message with a tangible example of the successes and failures of various practices.
As we near his house and homestead, his dog Marley runs out to greet us and escort us directly through the gates and into a garden full of delicious fresh fruits. The apples are ripe and the plums luscious. The blackberries alternate between tart and sweet, the juice making our hands and faces sticky. After filling our tummies with fruit, minds with knowledge, and hearts full of joy we walk across his homemade bridge to the road that leads us back to the Lodge and dinner.
After dinner the lodge transforms magically into a theater. Couches and chairs pulled close around the makeshift stage. Spotlighted and backdropped with a green cloth, this is the place for young poets and singers, musicians, and dancers to perform. The crowd of peers seated on cushions around the room watch with rapture and listen attentively to the stars onstage.
As each take a bow, our M.C. for the evening beckons the next to the spotlight to bring a delightful diversion to our night.