Early Saturday morning and I found myself driving 4 beautiful 15 year old girls to a weekend at a summer camp about an hour and a half away from town. They have all applied for jobs as CIT's (Counsellor in Training)and are competing against 28 kids for 16 positions. The whole excitable crew converged at the camp with the Director and summer staff for a tryout of sorts! They were so cute, and so excited and so nervous and knowing how psyched my own daughter has been throughout the winter as we approached this formidable weekend, I'm sure the other families have experienced the same jitters along with waves of doubts and bravado .
Still on the verge of innocence, though worldly in their own ways….knowledgeable and aware, their anticipation of what lies ahead was contagious! We stopped at the "Blue Canoe" Irving Big Stop on the TransCanada for a treat and off we went.......listening to their great choices of "indie" music while driving off the big highway and out into the country side, following the Saint John River south…..
You would love the scenery and landscape….the big beautiful trees….pine, birch, maple, towering evergreen, oak, cedar……., undulating hills and beautiful still water painted with reflections of the shoreline. It always makes me slide into a natural calm, like I feel when slipping into an old sweatshirt and a pain of worn in jeans. False pretenses and quickened paces disappear, packed away in a forgotten memory of "must do's." What is left as I find my way back to the countryside is an ambling soundtrack, strummed by someone who loves getting lost in the harmony, hunched over their guitar as one. There is a sense of reveries revisited, like the pull of a paddle on the sleepy surface of the deep bluegreen water below.
As we continued to hug the shoreline, the river widens a great deal and it has a feel of a lake where the camp is situated. This too holds familiarity for my own travels towards a place I hold dear in my own heart. Though my camp experiences happened many years ago, in a completely different part of this country, the scenery coupled with the excitement swirling in the conversations in the van allowed me to completely understand where these girls are in their lives, and what they have in store for them as they hold onto hope of being one of the handful chosen. Its funny, personal camp experiences............camper or staff........they all have the same bucket of feelings and very similar memories are gathered.
As I drove along, I longed to be sitting there as a 15 year old heading down the camp road again.......I guess we never lose that. Its not often I feel the urge to want to return to a younger age. But, when it comes to camp...........I'd do it over again in a minute!!!! And do it all the same.!! Even the big emotional roller coaster stuff that goes with adolescence.
Clouds and sunbursts……and new green where everywhere. I love the green of the season in its infancy….fields renewing….. a few deep purple blueberry fields restoring their growth…. Lovely cottages tucked along the river…….huge bales of hay rolled and left from last autumn…. Red roofs, tin roofs, big old country homes with scraped white peels and longed for porches that you know come June will be decorated with porch swings and bright colourful wicker, all to catch summer breezes. Inviting and private at the same time.....familial stories, ancestral ghosts creak into the large pine planks painted deep green.....whispers of the past......up and down the hills, turning off the country road onto another and another.......closer to our destination and the energy heightens.....
The girls went a little beserk when I pulled into the camp road…..squeals of delight and terror at the same time….were they going to be chosen???? It was LOUD! It was HILARIOUS!! These calm "I'm not nervous. Are you nervous??" teenagers let out a collective wail! I distinctly remember the feeling…..all youthful adrenaline surging hope, tumbling with the what if's….
I pulled into the driveway, and we all piled out of the van quickly……to be accosted by the familiarity of pine curled in wood smoke, and mossy mulch layered under the bare budded trees….the girls ran ahead to be enveloped in a large group hug from last summer kindreds. My heart felt full.......my own yearnings to feel the heat of my own kindreds surged through me. All these years later, I still have deep longings for those times. The sense of belonging never feels as sweet......
After a short stint…just to make sure they had all their gear…..and one last piece of advice "Just be your beautiful selves!!!!" .I got back in the van alone…. And took the long way home….. Just me and Mr. Springsteen…. And a view to die for. Layers of my armour fell off………possiblities visited…..I stopped and took photos whenever I wanted too, and thought about how much I would love to show you my part of this world.
I think I'm a country girl. Worn jeans and an old sweatshirt, a pair of comfie shoes that fit my sockless feet...... I feel most beautiful in that attire. I am my best sheltered in a cove of tall pine or standing in a open field surrounded by green innocence and bales to climb...... the possibilities are endless. Come join me?