The Dog Days of Summer

Time slows down, noises become less apparent and our senses are enlivened. Life is less annoying and we are calmed. Stresses of regular life are removed as the days begin with a rising sun and depart with the arrival of heavy eyelids. In camp, a watch becomes an intrusion that's better suited for town than for the country.

An old friend and mentor once offered the finest description of camp that I have ever heard, explaining, "Camp is a place where you can spit, cuss, fart and scratch your butt in public...and nobody cares. When yer' in camp, it just don't matter no more!"

It's been great fun to share these adventures with children and to again experience the pleasures of regular camp life through a younger set of eyes. Any kid that can get away with any of the actions mentioned above, without admonishment, is bound to be in for a good time!

Kids are captivated by the simple chores of collecting firewood, starting a fire or cooking s'mores. Add in a salamander hunt, a frog safari, a bit of fishing and an evening of watching the night sky and you've got a recipe for some tired and happy kids. Falling asleep while a west wind blows, the loons wail and a coyote howls is simply a bonus to the day's adventures.

I have slept with my back to the earth for six out of the last seven days, and I found the experience to be very good for the soul. It is an incredibly intimate experience to sleep in an open camp, with the wind blowing through the trees, the stars sparkling in the night sky and the gentle lap of waves along the shore. In a word, I was "grounded" again and I am better adjusted to life for the experience.

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