When you hear the morning bell at Rockbrook, you can picture parts of your day right away. You probably know what activities you’re going to take, you know at what times you’ll eat, and you’ll pull yourself awake knowing that rest hour is coming in the middle part of the day. You’ll probably have a suspicion that you’ll laugh a lot during the day, that someone will do something kind for you, that you’ll go to sleep at night with a different camp song stuck in your head.
But for all that you do know as you start thinking about today, there’s also a rush of excitement realizing there’s so much you do not know about the day, and it’s rife with possibility. There is a novelty and liveliness about each day that makes getting up that much easier, as you anticipate all of the paths the day might take.
Today was dotted with these unexpected moments. It happens when you hear the music start mid-breakfast and a flash mob suddenly begins, dancing in step to carefully choreographed dances and keeping it secret from the rest of us until just the moment when we’re least expecting it. The dining hall goes wild, delighted by the impressive entertainment that has made this meal extra joyful.
You go to your first activity and you throw some clay on the wheel. It’s harder than you imagined, but you find it calming all the while. After, news is traveling up and down the hill quickly about the muffin flavor. You’re somewhat used to this, but there is a unique enthusiasm in the way that people tell you: mint chocolate chip! A camp favorite, and something you look forward to throughout the year. As you wait in the muffin line, you realize that your shoes are exactly the same as the person in front of you. You start talking about the colors and why you chose them, and you have an inkling that a new friendship has been formed. You step back and think about how this happens so much here–some of the best friends of your life may not have been made because they were your bunkmate, but just as a happy accident of playing next to each other in the creek or sitting next to each other in the lodge. Making friends is easier here, maybe because you’re away from your phone and you’re engaged in more conversations, maybe because people are just a little gentler here, softer, wanting to be your friend, too, and maybe this will help you realize that you can make friends easier away from camp, too.
It was just announced that your cabin is zip lining for second period, and before you know it, you’re soaring through the trees, the sound of the zipline intermingling with the rush of the nearby waterfall. When you’re nervous about crossing a bridge to get to the next zip line, your best friend reassures you that you can do it, and that confidence and care warms you from the inside out.
You go to lunch and after, you have a note in your mailbox that’s written by a kind stranger saying simply, “You’re Awesome!” and you think about how special this place is that someone would be thoughtful enough to write this. After rest hour, you have cabin day, and your cabin is doing an egg drop. You and your cabinmates have never thought so hard about how to keep a little egg from breaking, but you work to construct the best parachute that you can come up with. Using bubble wrap, sparkly pipe cleaners, and string, you fashion the best protection you can for your little egg before dropping it off the balcony of a lodge. Yours is safe in the landing, no yoke visible, and you feel a rush of victory that comes from a mission well accomplished.
As dinner approaches, you are enthralled by the rush of energy that the dining hall is filled with tonight, delighted when the Hi-Ups bring back the Banana Song and you sing “Go Bananas!” loudly while dancing around in a circle. You spend a few minutes at twilight rolling down the hill with your friends, a cabinmate’s idea that just looks fun, and then you sing your favorite camp songs while waiting for evening program to begin.
The day ends with you watching the splendor of a dramatic sunset lighting up the sky, surrounded by the deep blues of clouds, the orange and pink shining through. And you think about how well-lived this day was, and know that there none of your others will be just like it. Maybe it was a normal day at camp for you–a routine you anticipated, a predictable structure. And yet when you look back on it, it was special. Today brought you closer to friends, it made you feel more connected to the Rockbrook community, there were delights you never could have anticipated and wouldn’t trade for anything. Because at Rockbrook, you realize, there simply aren’t ordinary days.
This is absolutely beautiful. Made me cry. Exactly how I feel about my own camp days a long time ago.