Yesterday was opening day for the fifth and final session of summer camp at GRP. This session welcomes many new campers who are seeing the Preserve with new eyes. Some of them are children of previous GRP campers. They come from families that bring generations of GRP with them, back to camp. They share stories from their time at the preserve and their excitement for their children to experience the camp’s magic.
Those of us who have been to GRP before feel a sense of excitement that can’t possibly be put into words. The joys of GRP can be unexpected and difficult to place, but we know they’re there. The small moments that we stow away for later may be forgotten by our minds, but never by our hearts.
As I reflect on the summer, here are some of the small joys that I hope to remember:
Morning greetings and pre-breakfast impressions of mooses on roller-skates: Best impression goes in first!
Family-style meals for newly acquainted friends; Soon to be families.
Bumpy gravel road bus rides.
“This is a repeat after me song!”
Spinning wood cookies like lassoes ‘till they fly off our fingers.
Singular socks lost under rhododendron leaves. How did they get there?
Feeling deep tranquility as we sing songs on our way to the upper council fire.
Jamming to Green River Ramblers playing banana slug and the campthem. The music never gets old.
A cool breeze through the screen windows of the cabin; White noise drifting from the fan in the corner; Rain on the metal roof. I love the rain.
My list is done for now but never completed. No doubt I’ll remember something else in a few hours, days, or weeks. All the small joys make for a big list. I look forward to all the memories that haven’t returned. Because I know they’ll come back when I need them most, bringing with them a deep breath of GRP.
Story by Joseph Heck with photos by Samantha Keebler & Brandon S. Marshall