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Déjà Vu

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I find myself fascinated by the concept of déjà vu, a phenomenon that Google amusingly coins as “tedious familiarity.” With the re-opening of Green River Preserve for our 2021 season yesterday, I certainly felt a sense of familiarity. Still, I would consider it to be the furthest thing from tedious. Having lived through a year, the wildly turbulent rollercoaster that was 2020, where there was a summer entirely absent of campers, still fills me with immense sadness. It’s a sadness that often leaves me dwelling on the “what-if’s” regarding what that 2020 season could have potentially looked like, all the memories and connections our community would have gained. Said dwelling served as an act I certainly partook in this time a year ago.

However, yesterday I found myself in the exact position I found myself in back when I was last a counselor for our 2019 season. Once again, I found myself positioned on the steps of the Big Laurel cabin sporting an oversized green polo shirt, anticipation coursing through my veins and my eyes glancing at my watch every thirty seconds. It’s the moment before the first camper arrives where I find myself the most anxious. Not the night before. Not even four hours beforehand. When the gate drops at one o clock on the dot, that’s when all the emotion comes hurtling at me like a freight train and turns my legs to Jell-O. It’s when it all becomes real, when it all becomes tangible. However, it all works out. Despite the chaos of carts moving in every direction, the reunions, and those sometimes tough goodbyes, it all works out.

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I like to consider my words carefully. I am a firm believer in the power of poetics. However, I think there is an immense power to merely stating the obvious: I’ve missed people. I’ve missed being at camp. I’ve missed seeing campers and their family merrily make their way through the backfield, luggage and smiles aplenty. Yesterday I experienced déjà vu, and for that, I am so, so grateful. It’s lovely to be back and an immense joy to know today is only day one. We still have an entire summer ahead of us.

Story by Blake Drinnen with Photos by Brandon S. Marshall & Samantha Keebler