Thursday, June 13, 2013

Old Friend

There are some places that just never lose their magic. For me, Lake Dunmore and Mt. Moosalamoo are that place, and more specifically Songadeewin of Keewaydin Camps. A couple weekends ago, Mike and I dusted off our canoe that has been sitting on a rotting sawhorse in New Jersey for three years and we threw it on top of the truck and drove up to one of our favorite places - Salisbury, Vermont. We took our canoe for a long paddle on a hot, clear day at Lake Dunmore after spending far too long a time away from a boat. As we paddled past the two camps that we both respectively worked at over ten years ago, we marveled at how so much of where we are today has to do with this place.

"Who would of thought I'd marry that cute guy from Will Connell's' barn party and years later be paddling around Lake Dunmore with him in our own canoe?" I asked Mike.

"Who knew."

Mike and I first met at a barn party kicking off the summer of 2001.  We both had different partners at the time and we didn't say much to each other that first summer, but my stomach did somersaults every time I saw him.

About a mile or so out on the lake I looked back at the campus of Songadeewin that had not yet begun getting ready for the season. The dock wasn't out, the flag not yet raised, but I still get the same warm feeling when I see it.

"Of all the experiences I've had, that place really changed my life," I said to Mike, and it's true. From the man I married to some of my best friends today, Songadeewin and the long paddles under sun or stars around Lake Dunmore and the midnight hikes of mischievousness on Mt. Moosalamoo gave me some of the best times and most important people in my life. Having come to Songadeewin as a staff member who never went to sleep-away camp and as a city girl to boot, Songa awakened in me my most primal and best self. At Songa I was allowed to heal and grow. I was allowed to reconnect with myself and ironically the way I did it was to be of complete service to 90 girls with dirty feet and sunburns.

Working at camp was formative to the young adult I became and inspired a sense of adventure and empowered a girl who always knew she was a resilient, but now knew she could do something with it.

"I want our kids to be able to come here," I said.

"Me too," he said.

"And I want to come here for a visit, every summer, for as long as we can," I said.

"Okay," he smiled. And we continued our paddle.