July 9, 2020
As each session draws to close, the Blog River starts to dry up. My inspirations begin to wane. [Note: A regular reader might suggest that the stream is already arid. Perhaps I already “jumped the shark”. After all, I did write an article featuring foot tans and a costumed dog.]
Without a pithy saying or powerful insight, I am left wanting to comment on – well – my feelings. Typically, I am uncomfortable sharing feeling, so this represents a “reasonable risk” for me. You, however, are under no compulsion to read my self-reflection.
To start, I am at a bit of a loss to explain “how I feel”. Without a clear antecedent, I feel somewhat unmoored. These days do not “feel” like any other period of my life to date.
While disoriented, I am not sad or frustrated or perplexed. To the contrary, I feel regular moments of clarity. I want to call it “crystalline gratitude”. When we talk with many of you (or read your emails); when we watch the counselors give so much of themselves; when we see the campers’ joy; when I share my day with Susie Ma’am – in these moments I feel deeply blessed.
Other moments bring doubt and uncertainty. Are we doing things the right way? How could we be better? Are we over-communicating with parents or under-communicating? What is the emotional state of the counselors and what can we do about it?
We look at every trip to the Health Center with heightened attentiveness. I have no idea how many fevers or runny noses we have in typical summers. Susie Ma’am assures me the number is large. But this summer, we want to be informed on every single one. I am told that campers are healthier this year. It might be all the extra handwashing, the cabin leader system or the detailed daily health checks. But it does not FEEL like fewer visits to the Health Center.
I have also become suddenly superstitious. So far, our summer has gone as well as I could have hoped. I know we have instituted strong health protocols and adapted them to new information. But yet I find myself knocking wood, insisting on wearing the same nametag, adjusting my eating schedule and committing to help any camp or person in the press that has questions about camp in the world of COVID. I guess I am hoping for COVID Karma.
But I go back to the crystalline gratitude. These challenges have had the odd effect of helping me savor my family, our camp community and our purpose. Tonight, the oldest Senior Campers (the ones that remembered our previous talks) read their mission statements. They were raw and honest and sincere and aspirational. None talked about wealth or power. All talked about joy and making an impact.
I guess I remain unsure exactly how I feel, but the overall feeling is definitely very positive!