The boys tore across the field without even closing the van doors. She couldn’t bring herself to yell after them this time. She was pleased to see them so excited for this trip to the old camp. And, she wanted time to herself to wander and reminisce before the whole gang showed up. How many summers had she spent here? It was hard to believe – every summer from the time she was 8 until she finished her first degree. She still thought of her life that way. Camping and After-Camping. Her time at Camp Manitou had shaped her, moulded her, defined her. There was no doubt that spending thirteen summers canoeing, tenting, swimming, and hiking had led her to environmental law.
By the time she was twelve she had convinced her parents to let her stay at camp the whole summer. She saved up her babysitting money all year to pay for part of the fees and for her tuck money. Her parents must have been relieved the summer she turned sixteen and started getting paid for spending her summers out here. Her second last year had been the best – Out-trip and Waterfront Director. She spent part of the summer helping the counsellors organize and prepare for their groups’ overnight hikes and canoe trips. The other part of the summer she spent lifeguarding and maintaining the boating equipment.
It didn’t get much better than a summer spent with kids by the water. Now she and Jared spent as much of the summers as they could at their cabin here on Elgin Lake. She was glad their youngest, Terry, had been able to spend this summer at Camp Manitou. Mark and Christopher had been able to go a few more summers, but she was a little sad they wouldn’t know the fun of being a counsellor all summer.
She made her way past the dining hall to the campfire glen. The log-seated amphitheatre looked different in the early fall light, but somehow it felt the same. The warm feeling of song, fire and camaraderie seemed to permeate the clearing like the light through the burnished fall leaves. She could almost hear the buzzing of kids and laughter of teenagers. For a second she was there. A hot night made warmer by the huge bonfire. Youngsters whispering excitedly. Counsellors confirming the song they would teach that night. Then, just as quickly, she was back in the cool, golden clearing – the sun filtering through the turning poplar leaves. She stood, stunned, for a moment trying to regain her bearings. In a few seconds the odd sensation of having moved through time wore off. It was just some kind of déjà vu she assured herself. She took the path to her left and headed to the waterfront to find her boys.
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