Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friends of the long trail

"What is the tie that binds us together, friends of the long, long trail? Just this... we have shared the weather, we have slumbered side by side, and friends who have camped together shall never again divide." Anyone who has spent a summer at camp knows just what that means.

Today I spoke with my friend Ann, remembering our days at Camp Mawavi, a Camp Fire Girl camp in Virginia. Our first year there was 1972. Hurricane Agnes swept up the East Coast during staff training week, drenching us with unceasing rain. We woke to sunshine the last day of training, only to discover that during the night the water in the lake had risen so high it picked up everything that wasn't tied down on the waterfront and carried it over the dam. Life jackets dangled from tree limbs 20 feet high. Poles, buoys, paddles, 55 gallon drums, all were tossed around below the dam like so much debris. The magnificent and awesome power of water was there for all to see.

There was some concern that the dam might break, which would wipe out the waterfront for the summer (it didn't). Now in the summer in Virginia, swimming is a really important program activity, and the campers were due to arrive the very next day. What did we do? We took a deep breath, laughed, and went on with the business of cleaning up and preparing to give the girls the time of their lives. We told stories, of the copperhead in the washroom, of the pterodactyl-like blue heron skimming over the surface of the water, of trees littered with life vests. And we came together as friends and comrades, who delighted in the adventure and the challenge of Hurricane Agnes.

I have worked in many camps, but Mawavi staff are the ones I carry in my heart. Decades might go by without a conversation... but when we do connect, it is as though we have never been apart. What a blessing. Where in your life have you found friends like this?

Stay tuned for the story of the copperhead in the washroom (it was a dark and stormy night...)

1 comment:

  1. Many years have passed and many miles lay between us, but Lydia is correct about the special memories from Mawavi summer of 1972. And I'll never forget the copperhead, either!