Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My First Concert.... DOH!!

It was my second summer at Camp Jewell, my first as a cabin counselor. Nearly twenty, I was still very shy and feeling awkward in my own skin. One on one, or with a small group of eight and nine year old girls looking to me for guidance and structure, not a problem. But a group, a crowd, or my peers... AAAACK!!

It was also a time in my life where I spent a lot of time crying out to God - though I wouldn't have called it that at the time. "Soul searching", I'd say. Hours and hours of journaling. Hundreds and hundreds of pages. Literally. Hours and hours of solitude - trying to connect to my self - or God - hoping to find a way to connect to the world.

It was near the end of the summer. The four cabins of eight and nine year olds - boys and girls - joined together for a wilderness campout: roughly 64 kids and 10 adults.

We set out of Main Camp, carrying our belongings, to a clearing in the woods not far from Ranch Camp. Kids were taught how to spread out their sleeping bags and "hug a tree" if need be, and finally, they were all tucked in.

Several of the staff volunteered to stay near the campers, while others gathered to chat a ways away. I grabbed my pen and paper, and headed off on my own. Across the creek I found a spot to sit and reflect. For a while I wrote, glancing up from time to time at the flashlights across the water - more staff joining the chatting group.

I soon got lost in the sound of the creek. It had been rainy, and there was plenty of water singing as it danced around the rocks of the New England creek bed. I began to hum along with the water. Before long, the words to the camp songs I'd grow up with were coming forth. "Today" and "Dona" and "Spider's Web". Quietly at first, then increasingly louder. Just me and the water.... or so I thought. The lights had long quit flashing at the campsite, and all was silent.

When I was done, I quietly snuck back to my own sleeping bag and drifted off to a peaceful wilderness sleep.

The next morning, as we packed our things, one by one, the staff came up to me: "I didn't know you could sing...." I stared in disbelief and curious amazement. Later, I learned that my peers had been silently sitting across the water, listening to me sing...

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