Week 5 Letter, 2015
As Week #5 – Wild and Woolly Week – comes to a close, we look forward to our 6th and final week: Flutter-Bye. And as luck would have it some of our monarch chrysalids will yield their butterflies during this week and we can watch them flutter-by.
One Native American legend states that when a person desires to make a serious wish, he or she gently captures a butterfly and holds it within cupped hands. The person whispers the wish to the butterfly and then releases it to the winds so it can fly to the Creator, tell the Creator the secret, and then one’s wish will be granted.
During this week a camper was heard saying, “We’re finding a lot of ‘wild’ but not much ‘woolly'”. Well, we made up a little for this by having some special guests on Thurston on Thursday: a person dressed as a wooly bear caterpillar – a supposed winter weather predictor; a fuzzy poison ivy vine from which you can still get poison ivy, even in the winter; and then, as Thurston’s final guests, all the bearded men at camp. Fuzzy enough!
The Barefoot Zone happened this week and everyone loved it as usual. Even the oldest campers who have done this many times! It really surprises me each year how all the campers eagerly look forward to this week. The ‘Zone’ consists of some of these items the campers have an opportunity to step into or on:
*sponges (which some campers said felt like “stepping on clouds”)
* bird seed
* dried beans
* forest soil
* Ubleck (water and corn starch)
* 25 pound block of ice
* mats of different textures
* green and red jello
* a large flat rock
Another part of the Barefoot Zone, after we have stepped into as many things as we want, is the making of what we call ‘Blacktop Angels’. Campers carefully lay down on the blacktop in a protected area of our parking lot, and I gently spray them with a fine, misty hose spray. Then they get up and are amazed to see their dry outlines or figures on the blacktop.
We had a former staff person visit – Yoko – who did our cooking classes in the past – and offered a hobby called Stone Meditation. 15 campers signed up for it! A quiet, mindful time was had by all.
Every week this summer we have had a wonderful teacher and skilled wilderness living skills expert, Paul Mindich, come into camp and work with a variety of groups. Some of his hands-on presentations included: Bush craft activities; nature awareness; making a debris hut; Zen rock balancing; rock body paint; fire building skills; making cordage; Native American trapping and tracking skills; and more.
Paul also offered a hobby every Wednesday afternoon. Not doing anything outdoor-related as one would think, but in Magic!
I have watched Paul do his tricks many times and I swear that it looks like REAL magic. My 11-year-old, Nathaniel, in group N, was showing me some of the card tricks he learned from Paul during a recent hobby period and he must have learned well because his tricks, too, astounded me and felt like real magic.
And, yes, it was a very hot week. We shortened some of the day hikes and camping trips, hung our famous dripping blocks of ice from trees, reminded counselors and campers to drink water and then to drink some more, stayed to shade more, slowed down, enjoyed the respite offered by some of our larger air-conditioned spaces. And, most importantly reminded ourselves that it is, after all, summer time!
Campers quotable Quotes
Entering the garden the counselor reminded the campers to follow Peter. “Which Peter?”, some campers inquired. “Farmer Peter”, was the reply. The camper Peter exclaimed, “That’s not me, I’m not a farmer.” To which another camper responded, “We’re all farmers.” There certainly is much truth in his statement!
At the chickens: “The mommies are talking a lot. They must be having a baby shower.”
“I’m happy we have a weird counselor!”
“Ugh! You put a curse on me.”
“I’m starting to like you!”
A camper in the woods picked up a ‘Y’-shaped stick and said, “I’m going to teach deer to read.”
Next week, our last, has many exciting things happening:
Our cooking activity is called ‘Transylvanian BBQ’. I personally can’t wait to see what this is!
We have been waiting the whole summer for the last week and it’s theme, ‘Flutter Bye’, to bring back one of our favorite songs – Three Charcoal Buzzards.
Full camp Harvest Day on Thursday: What a joy to be under the summer sun, 200 people, picking onions and potatoes, laughing and singing, being one with the earth and with each other. Life is good.
Bill Robinson is back with his large animals. And let’s not forget Outragehisss Pets.
Our camp’s annual outdoor slide show, Remembering Summer, is on Wednesday night, August 5th, where there will be music from our own Nature Place band, dancing, dessert (we ask that each family coming brings enough dessert to share) and, of course, photos or ‘slides’ depicting the wonderful summer we have all had. Remembering Summer will begin at 7:15 pm this Wednesday of our 6th week of camp, and we’ll send a separate email reminder with more details. The actual slide show itself begins at 8:45 pm, when it will be dark enough.
The Cookie Tree – each camper group will sing a song to this tree, and in return the baker elves lower down to the eagerly awaiting group a basket-full of delicious homemade cookies!
There will also be day hikes, rock climbing in the ‘Gunks’, trail work at Bear Mountain, an Almost Overnight for Group B, games, music, drama, visits to nature’s playground, hobby time, special morning shares, dragging magnets on the ground to gather iron dust, possibly from meteorites, and much more as we close out our summer season.
Early Bird Enrollment
Even though it is or is starting to be migration time for many birds, we at camp are bucking the trend of the natural world and will be sticking around to offer you an Early Bird rate for next year’s camp tuition. We’ll send information out at the beginning of this coming last week of camp.
Farm and Garden Days
We have exactly 6 spots left in both of our upcoming weeks of Farm and Garden Days, so let us know before mid-week next week if you’d like to be a part of this program. What we do in these weeks: Planting, composting, harvesting, cooking, swimming, games, tipis for each group’s home base, milking cows, felting the sheep’s wool, gathering eggs, picking up chickens, art/earth art, singing, games, eating lunch in the garden, using the garden’s outdoor clay oven to make pizza we have made from our garden gleanings.
Don’t Even Go There
Comedian Louis C.K., to his young daughter, when she complained about being bored during a family car trip:
“I’m bored”, is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world. And you’ve seen none percent of it. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing. So you don’t get to say, “I’m bored.”
Until next week,