Last week I was at church camp, which is why there was no post. It was kind of hard this year without the girl who’s been my cabin mate for years, but I still enjoyed it. Although I have a couple post ideas, I don’t feel like doing either of them today, so here’s a paper I wrote for my creative writing class last semester about camp (slightly edited).
I’ve probably sat on this hill a thousand times – but who’s counting? The roots in the paths aren’t surprising anymore. I’ve memorized Bible verses on several of the big rocks scattered around. I know this place like I belong here. And maybe I do.
The narrow, tree-enclosed driveway is where it starts to feel familiar. I remember walking up it, if it can properly be called walking when you’re gasping for breath. And then praying no one would be driving up when I drove down for the first time last year.
A glimpse of blue swimming pool water through the green summer leaves. Water cold enough, I know from experience, that the directors have joked about the ice they have shipped in.
There’s the canteen, where I twisted my ankle, where I had to sing my order once (“I’d like a chocolate éclair, please!”), were we’ve had girls’ Bible studies where everyone was crying.
Then the bathrooms – am I allowed to be fond of the ordinary, not-really-big-enough bathrooms that you have to practically hike to?
Finally the basketball, dodge ball, volleyball, any-other-sport-they-can-think-up-to-torture-hot-and-tired-campers court. To the right is the shed where everyone dumps their Bibles during the day when they’re not using them. To the left is the dining hall, where I’ve eaten countless meals, watched movies whose only redeeming value was the chance to sit quietly for a few hours, listened to Bible teachers, conked heads with C, preformed in skits, played Right Town, Left Town and Electricity… These plain wooden walls and tables and benches hold an impressive variety of memories.
Past the dining hall is the gong that is camp’s symbol. The gong I sat in before that became against the rules. The gong that is incredibly loud when you’re the one ringing it. The gong C once missed trying to ring it and instead hit her knee, resulting in an extraordinary bruise.
And then! And then! The hill. The land drops off steeply down to the dreaded Village 3 in the field, and out over the rustic cabins stretches a photogenic view of mountains folding back into the distance. We have singing on the hill here, and it gives the song “We Shall Assemble on the Mountain” new meaning.
Aside from the miserably hot Village 3, there are two other villages in the woods. They have the same uninspiring cabins: rough wood, dirty windows, beds and closets. No electricity. C and I have shared a two-person cabin most of the years I’ve gone to camp. We’ve laid in bed and made up stories and talked about books and guys and just enjoyed our all-too-short chances to be together.
Really, camp doesn’t even own this place. But I think this place will always own a part of camp. It certainly owns a part of me.