I’ve been away from camp for almost 2 weeks now. I have found myself on facebook more than ten minutes at a time—I have been on there continually all day. Doing what? I think I’ve been trying to prove that it really happened. Sorting through everyone’s pictures. Making fun comments, leaving messages full of inside jokes. For what? To try and hold on as long as I can to the magic that Wawona held for me. What was that magic? How do I explain it to others and how do I explain it to myself?
Perhaps the excitement lies in the fact that I had to fly there. It was a magical place I had never been before and to get there I had to go by – planes, trains and autos. So the location was new, it was surrounded by some of God’s greatest handy work – which I had never been blessed with seeing. All summer long I would sit in the campfire bowl and look up at Wawona Dome in wonder and awe. God is so good.
Is the magic in the age of our staff? It was kindly stated that we are comprised of staff who have been around the summer camp block a few times. We are the staff that has been “put out to pasture” as on of the older staff members put it. They say our average age was early 20’s. So perhaps we had just seen enough of good and bad staff drama to keep it all good.
Days off? Maybe it helped that on most people’s day off they were given the opportunity to run to the wilds of nature. They communed with God, friends and Yosemite’s rustic world. I found myself on all my days off, minus the one I was sick, trucking through a mountain pass, hiking up extreme trails or soaking in the overwhelming beauty of the mountains. It was time spend in nature and time spent with new friends.
“I’ve got some new friends I hardly know” is how one fellow staff member pu it. I couldn’t agree more. I hardly knew them on June 14but by Aug 2 I knew my life would be forever changed by their friendships. In fact I’m sure I’d miss them even if I’d never met them. I found myself memorized by their energy, their dedication, easygoing spirit and their ability to laugh. My new friends accepted me. We hung out, we were co-counselors, rest period river rats, co-hosts in the morning, words of encouragement, friends who challenged each other with the truth, listened to hearts opening up, shared view points. We were Indian Villagers, we were Jamba Jucie drinkers, 80’s lovers, Bonanza goers, theater actors, music makers. We were a family.
Is that where the magic of the summer lies? The fact that I became a family member to 60 other people and now sitting here on a plane I look back on my summer and see the magic of the location, staff age, days of pure nature, and my new family. I fear the future when perchance I can’t go back to the magic and it will be gone. So in fear I cling tightly to what my summer was and each memory that was made. I might not be able to completely understand my love of the time or completely express how magical it was but I do know I’d do it again and my heart longs for my Wawona family.