Written by Lilith (camper)
I woke up a little before nine to the sounds of the other people in my cabin slowly awaking. I was one of the later ones awake I think, besides those who don’t get up until wake up call. I’m not one to rush, especially not when waking up, but I slowly made my way to the lodge.
I hadn’t remembered to write down my schedule for the day the previous night, so I had to make a plan for the day. The schedule was positioned over the door, so you kinda have to awkardly dodge the people coming in and out. But you also get to greet them and if you pay attention, you can know everyone that enters or exits the lodge.
A friend of mine walked in as I was deciding my schedule. She was holding a thermos very close to her chest and her eyes were looking down. When I said hello, her face lit up. And like the empath I am, her smile made me smile as well.
Breakfast was soon and people tend to line up before the bell goes off. Me and my friend decided it was a good idea to get in the very front around 5 minutes before breakfast started. In theory it was a good idea, but there was a field trip today and those going on the trip got to cut to first in line. I didn’t go on the field trip, so I ended up pretty far back. But I was the first person who didn’t go on the field trip to get food, so it could’ve been worse.
Today was skirt day. You were supposed to wear a skirt. That’s the entire explanation of skirt day. I didn’t think to bring a skirt, so I ended up borrowing a red skirt with mice on the front from Fru.
Midway through breakfast, everyone going on the field trip left. We had community meeting and announcements in a much smaller area than we normally do, all cuddled up and close. I sat next to a very sarcastic friend of mine who spent the entire meeting in a mix of confused and cynical.
Then we split into smaller groups for an emotional check-in time. We do this every morning with the same people, but all the groups were missing members on the field trip so we combined as many of them as possible. My group had eight members still there and we got another three and we welcomed them with open arms. After the check in, we got to play a game called Pterodactyl, which basically meant we sat in a circle and yelled “Pterodactyl” without showing our teeth. If you show your teeth at any time, you’re out. One of the defining features of this game is the cawing. If you want the circle to yell in the opposite direction, you can “caw,” or yell something incomprehensible and pretend it’s a caw. I was out before it even made it to me. Turns out cawing is hilarious. I recommend everyone to caw more because you know it can really add something to a conversation.
After that meeting, the day officially started. I had all day to do whatever I wanted. There weren’t a lot of people or a lot of activities but it worked out. I met with some people in the field next to some really tall tires. One of the campers who stayed back from the field trip taught parkour, so I spent an hour or so jumping over some tires with a few people that I didn’t know very well.
After about an hour, we abruptly stopped to climb the tree. It was some kind of evergreen with fairly even branches that just went up forever. But somehow we made it to the top eventually. We signed our names in the notebook and vowed to come back because the notebook was extremely wet from all the rain the previous day and needed a new ziplock.
Sometime between going up and coming down the tree we all decided it was lunchtime. Because of all the field trippers, we got bags with sandwiches at breakfast to eat whenever we were ready. We walked down to the swimming hole and sat on the bank, pulling out sandwiches and generally conversing. It seamlessly transformed into playing by the creek. A few of us played ball, tossing it back and forth between us, while a different few decided to swim or skip rocks. We were just a group of teens playing in the creek. There weren’t any labels anymore, just a group of people- a group of friends being friends.
It was over an hour before we got tired. We gathered everything together and went our separate ways, brimming with new memories. The next few hours went by in a blur. I did some origami with the local origami expert, those who were on the field trip returned, and we had dinner.
Then, “fpoon” started. Fpoon is the opposite of a spork and definitely as useful. There are tongs like a fork, with little spoons on the end of each one. It’s only a theory so far, but it should be a thing. Make fpoon a thing 2019. After spreading the word of fpoon for around 20 minutes, it was time for the concert.
The lodge was arranged differently than normal. The alcove was doubling as a stage and there were couches arranged around it. Normally, there’s space between the alcove and the couches so anyone who didn’t get a couch could sit on the floor. But for this event, all the couches were super close to the alcove and there wasn’t any space so sit on the floor.
Like most concerts, people had decided it was a good idea to gather in the lodge early. Since I was merely on time, I didn’t get a great spot. The setup team had placed tables in the back and I ended up there. None of the people that I normally sit with were around so I planned to sit by myself. I sat alone, staring at the fireplace and listening to the chatter around me. The lights were off, so only the alcove was lit. The entire environment was quite peaceful.
A few minutes before camp started, someone asked to sit next to me. She had a kind face, soft and welcoming. I immediately felt safe with her and agreed for her sit with me. She sat next to me and wrapped an arm around me. She let me rest my head on her shoulder. Throughout the concert, she made sure I was doing alright. I still don’t know her name, but I hope she knows I am thankful. The concert was beautiful and the entire energy was hopeful and loving. It was over too soon. Then everyone dispersed and the couches were moved to their original spot. The person who sat next to me disappeared after saying goodnight.
I got my computer and found a chair on the side to write. Around midnight, everyone started singing Old Town Road. I watched one person run out of the room on the first line and I watched many other people swarm into a circle around the guitarist. Everyone looked happy. If I knew the lyrics, I’d sing with them, but I never felt excluded.
I just watched in awe as everyone sung, listening to the voice of NBTSC.