Well, yesterday I spoke too soon, bragging a bit about our great timing in the midst of this unusually wet weather pattern, for today was a truly rainy day. We had rain overnight, rain this morning during breakfast, during rest hour, and except for an occasional break, all afternoon and into the evening too. I suppose we should have expected it, with the forecast using “100%” to describe the chance of precipitation, and that green/yellow/orange color on the radar maps all the way down through Florida. Still, when it comes to your raincoat, or what around here we call a “dew coat” (rain is just a “heavy dew,” right?), it feels odd to need it all day long.
You might think flooding would be an issue with all this rain, and that would be correct for the French Broad River, which has now crested its banks and has turned many local sod and corn fields into expansive lakes. Rockbrook though, with the exception of a few of our horseback riding fields, is high above the flood zone, set on the hill between Dunn’s Rock and Castle Rock. For us, this kind of heavy rain swells our creeks creating more powerful, rushing waterfalls. Over many years, we’ve learned to channel this water, and send it strategically through pipes and down various gutters and ditches. The camp facilities do quite well, even with this much rain… almost 4 inches today total. Wow!
Our camp people are quite well too. Beyond the fact that most of our activities can carry on either because they are suited to being indoors, in our gym, on a porch, or one of the stone lodges or activity cabins, or because they can be reshaped to happen inside (climbing our indoor wall instead of the Alpine Tower, for example), there is something about our “outdoor lifestyle” at camp that makes rain almost irrelevant. Living outside most of the time, we grow used to being a little wet, a tad bit muddy, and cool enough to wear long sleeves at night. We actually enjoy hearing the rain on the roof at night, feeling the warmth on our hands from a fire in the lodge fireplace, and snuggling in our cozy cabins. This weather… Although I’ll admit a little less of it would be nice! … seems like a natural part of our camp experience. While the sky might be crying, at Rockbrook, we aren’t sad we’re getting wet.
When you’re a little wet already, one idea is to celebrate it, and get even messier. That’s exactly what about half the camp chose to do this afternoon when we pulled out the slip-n-slide and a dozen cases of shaving cream. With only the occasional slight drizzle overhead, the girls attacked each other with foam spraying. They painted each other with the stuff, drawing designs on backs, “six packs” on stomachs, and twisting extreme hairstyles. Being covered with slippery shaving cream also makes for quite a ride down a wet sheet of plastic. This is the kind of mischievous fun, in this case that’s surprisingly sanctioned, that’s also completely hilarious. The girls, and quite a few counselors too, laughed and laughed as they got messier and messier, pausing once in a while to slide down the hill on their stomachs or knees.
Tonight was the last night for our first July mini session girls, and also the night of their closing “Spirit Fire” campfire. The rain made holding the program inside the Hillside lodge a good idea. So with a huge fire roaring in the fireplace, all the mini session girls and their counselors spread out on the floor in Crazy Creek chairs to sing traditional camp songs and hear tributes to all the successes of the session.
Several girls from each line (Juniors, Middlers and Seniors) stood and spoke about their experience at Rockbrook, what they learned, the friends they’ve gained, and why they love camp so much. In the same way, both new and returning staff members made remarks. Sarah always speaks at the end of our Spirit Fires, and tonight she reminded us about how “the ‘Spirit of Rockbrook’ inspires kindness and generosity,” and how she hoped everyone would carry that spirit home with them. The small candles everyone lights at the end of the program likewise represent the “Spirit of Rockbrook.” With their candles lit, the girls formed a circle on the hill to sing one last song. It was a gorgeous sight… misty mountains looming in the background, dim blue hazy sky overhead, and the warm yellow glow from more than one hundred candles… All these girls and young women bonding in this special way, in this special place.