five lefts and one right.
that’s all it takes to drive to camp. i could do it in my sleep. i could do it with my eyes shut. i have a pattern, a routine of how i get there, of how many lanes i merge over, of when i do and don’t turn on my blinker. everything was stable this summer–there were challenges, of course, they all had names and were between the ages of nine and eleven or occurred when one aspect of our well planned days faltered but the thing is, there was a stable base so nothing ever crumbled, not like last summer. that base was us, you see, the eight of us. i’m not sure if it was luck or something that somebody did throughout the summer, but the way the eight of us formed into a group was my favorite thing about the summer. it was a group based on such different needs than last year, based in lightness and laughter and support.
i needed that.
i needed the time in nature, to see the wolves, to make tiny boats and launch them in the Junkyard Regatta, to play water tag and Mighty Mighty Scoop Noodle Challenge, to eat donuts from Greenbush and make gimp and friendships bracelets, i need to make ice cream in a bag and stuff myself with baked potatoes and swing in the giant swing and canoe to Culver’s and pull a jacket out of the lake and go caving and camp at High Cliff.
i needed all those things and all the people too. i could write forever about the characters of my summer. i wanted to too–corrine, ada, cicada, gilbert, tommy, lila, audrey, alexa, owen, brett, norbu, shibo, ledys, david, libby, mallory, megan, izzy…–i could go on and on. their faces parade through my mind. in many ways, i owe them a moment of reflection but i can’t stop thinking about how funny it is how things end.
some, in a moment of chaos, children everywhere, hugs given, good-byes called, you rushing for the next event already, moving on before this has truly ended. and others, drawn out, lasting weeks, lasting months, with so much build up, so much subtlety that when the end comes, there under the sun, matching bow ties, matching dresses, everything is so well disguise as happiness, everyone fails to see the ending amongst it all, even you, even you who knows it.
it’s funny too, how sometimes endings feel natural, like what ended was supposed to end this way, like the universe planned it. i didn’t want camp to end. in that last week, i saw a path i could take, i saw a possible version of my life consisting of these people, in various ways, surrounding me. all those feelings could have become constants and for long moments, as the bus wheels turned under me, as my phone dinged, i considered what would happen if i stayed. and yet, when i walked up that path to the parking lot for the last time, my feet in half a run, it didn’t seem like good-bye. it seems natural, and the universe hung around me, telling me this wasn’t truly the end, that our paths will cross again.
but maybe that’s all in my head. how could i ever know?
what a mad adventure this all is.