Camp. It’s always really just been “camp” to me. Not our family camp, Mom and Dad’s camp, Dan’s and my camp, the Salt Pond Camp – just camp. An entity, evolving over generations, ready to take whatever shape or serve whatever purpose is needed at the time. For many generations it was part of a larger tract of land owned by the paternal side of my family. And as often happens, the land was divided so siblings could all have a share.
My parents chose to keep the spot I refer to as camp. It is a perfect spot, with a brook running through, tall oaks with their roots holding onto the banks while leaning toward and over the water, an ever shifting kinda maybe beach, just the right mix of sand and mud for any kind of soup or pie, a ledge popping up for gulls and ducks and children to sit atop and soak in the sun. That’s Freddie’s rock – my grandchildren still call it that for their great-uncle Freddie, named for his (our) grandfather Freddie. Over the years appeared first a tent site, a platform, a camp, a larger camp, a deck, a renovation or two…all the while still camp. Cross the brook and climb the hill, and you’ll find the field – home to resting geese, monarchs, birthing does, and to foxes hunting mice, a perfect field for flying kites or chasing bubbles. Today it is also home to two Nigerian Dwarf goats, Dottie and Matilda, and to our vegetable garden.
My grandchildren coming to camp to spend days with me is now Camp Gramma. Someday I’ll write about Camp Gramma. I’m not sure I can begin to adequately describe how wonderful our summers have been, but someday I’ll try. To share my love for this place I call camp with all my grandchildren is one of my life’s greatest blessings. Beginning with our oldest, now 21, they’ve all spent hours and hours doing the summer work of childhood – play. Playing in, on and with the water, the sand, the mud, the ferns, the tall grass. Exploring the brook, the leaf litter, and climbing trees, playing in the playhouse that was once their Gramma’s, brought to camp by her parents long ago, used for storage, and then once again as a place for play. Camp will remain in their hearts and minds forever, wherever their lives carry them.
Dan and I will always be grateful to my parents for entrusting us with camp. They must have known how much we would both come to love it. Mama got to see that that was so. I like to think they both are here with us watching their great- grandchildren love what they loved so.
Just as our winter home with the kitchen window view of the mountain brings me joy watching the birds and deer, safe and cozy as the snow piles up throughout the winter months, camp now feeds my soul in a deep and fulfilling way as I do my hard work of keeping my body and mind healthy. Being in the midst of the wonders of our natural world, sharing your love for a place with those you love, and knowing that you’re part of something much bigger, longer lasting than any of us – generations before and generations to come, is an awesome experience. And here I am, finding joy in the wonders of the everyday, every day. camp.