Departure Day (Vermont 2016 – by Talis Thorndike Love)

Talis - Camp Cook. Photo by Mckinley Ropers.
Talis – Camp Cook. Photo by Mckinley Ropers.

So much of my heart lives in the fields of Farm and Wilderness, where I’ve grown year after year. Through blood moons and late night shenanigans I have loved the forest that keeps us. I have held high the connections I’ve made and cherished the truest friendships that have emerged. After a small session here in Vermont, where everyone has grown so close, I feel saying goodbye is extra hard. It’s bittersweet, leaving this community and place to return to the everyday. When I came to camp for the first time I arrived with a dozen folks from my coop. It made for a weird first year as we practically only spent time with each other, but still it was an experience worth revisiting. I wonder how similar my feelings were then to this year’s campers; embracing with tears welling up in their eyes. No one is afraid to cry at the end of camp. That’s one beautiful thing about leaving someone you love; you’re feelings are right there for the world to see. I don’t get that feeling at the end of camp anymore, which is okay. Maybe it would be different if my parents suddenly showed up, but I think I’ve just adjusted. Leaving is less overwhelming now, and I try to bring just a little something home every year:

This year I’m going to try to…
Sleep outside
Play more music
Find a good place to meditate in my city
Go see my parents more often
Make open connections
Continue to cry in public
Take wicked good care of my body
And, spread the word about camp.

But anyway.

Camp has ended, the campers have all left, and staff settles into our final meeting. This is the first year I’ve been on senior staff; it’s all new and charming. I feel incredibly lucky to be part of this. Listening to Even go over final notes, I can’t help but feel like when we leave this room everyone will still be here. I know I’ll be disappointed. But, all is well in the world; I wrote my phone number on many a camper. The appreciation circle we end with is full of kind words and loving looks. We close our meeting early. The lodge is clean, the walk-in fridge is empty, and my truck is full of milk crates. We’re heading to a cabin in the woods for a moment of decompression and more wonderful food before going back to the real world. This has been my 9th year, and it means more than I’d ever thought. I don’t know who I would be without NBTSC. Certainly very different.

We are an incredibly privileged group to be part of something many people may never get the chance to experience.

Much love,

Campers saying goodbye on our final morning
Campers saying goodbye on our final morning