August 8, 2013
Scorpio is my favorite summer constellation for several reasons. First, it looks like a Scorpion. Every civilization that sees those stars sees a scorpion. Second, it crawls across the sky like a scorpion might – straight rather than sideways or backwards. In other words, the scorpion points the same direction that it crawls across the sky.
Third, it is an easy constellation to show campers and counselors. I know that it is frustrating to have someone say “can’t you see the scales” when you just see stars. But in this case, people see it and appreciate it.
Finally, I am deeply familiar with where Scorpio is during the different parts of the summer. He rises late in May and June. During counselor orientation, you cannot see the end of his tail until almost midnight. As the summer progresses, he rises a little earlier every day. By the end of the summer, he is fully up early and even on his way down by 11.
So last night after the meeting, I looked up, smiled and commented, “His heart was higher than his head”. In other words, he was past his apex and on his way down. Several counselors joined me in a field as we looked and talked a little bit.
During the meeting, we heard a story from Craw Ma’am (our Mini Division Leader and soon-to-be assistant girls director). She had received a text message from “Abby” earlier in the day. She racked her brain to think who Abby was. It turns out that Abby was her camper 5 years ago at another camp. Abby is now 18, about to go to college and was struggling with a few personal challenges. She had only spoken to Craw Ma’am 2 or 3 times in the past 70 months. Yet in her time of emotional need, she reached out to Craw Ma’am for advise, comfort and insight.
Craw Ma’am was both surprised and moved. Bus as we talked about it, we realized that camp is often the place where these types of friendships and relationship develop. Evidently, Abby found Craw Ma’am to be loving and authentic, attributes that she did not find enough of other places. Part of this stems from the fact that camp takes away our masks. When you are with people 16 hours a day for weeks, you cannot pretend to be someone else. We often hide our more authentic selves elsewhere (though the authentic selves are by far the most interesting), but at camp we share them and are accepted. Also, camp is a place where we care about people. That combination leads to some strong friendships.
As I looked at Scorpio – with his “heart above his head”, I thought about this story. When Craw Ma’am was Abby’s counselor, she lived with her heart above her head. Hear each night, our hearts are higher than our heads. In other words, camp is one of the few non-home places where being kind is more important than being smart. Being smart is not a bad thing, but I think we need practice doing both.
So as the days of the summer wind down, I plan to keep my heart above my head.