11:11 AM//Live Oak Wilderness Camp

Letters

After approximately 888 hours amidst the Mississippi mud and mosquitos, here’s what I’ve learned from a place where I’ve spent the past 3 summers dancing, running, singing, and throwing face paint around:

Dear Live Oak,

Fun fact: I have been to every single closing campfire for the past three years.

That means I’ve spent:

  • 10 campfires belting out “Little Red Wagon”
  • 10 campfires crossing my fingers hoping for s’mores
  • 10 campfires hopping up and down with the Deerwood Sisterhood
  • 10 campfires swatting at bugs because I forgot to put on bug spray
  • 10 campfires reflecting on my bricks and my sticks
  • 10 campfires watching the sunset over fields and water
  • 10 campfires feeling myself swell with pride and love
  • 10 campfires wishing for another session to follow the next
  • 10 campfires hoping I haven’t forgotten the words to “Rivers and Roads”
  • 10 campfires crossing my right arm over my left, squeezing the people next to me and watching the this squeeze ripple across a circle of people, all who, as D always says:

start as strangers, then become friends, then become family

***

It’s kind of crazy what happens when you do something this many times– it becomes a part of you.  Becomes an instinct.

Live Oak, over three years and 10 campfires, has become a part of me, messy face paint, humid air, crazy campers, and all.

***

Another fun fact is that most of the time, I don’t paint or leave a brick at Live Oak. I never know exactly what I want to bring back– so I bring all of it.

I bring the determination to keep going, the kindness that fills my heart with joy, the openness that forces me to be brave and seek new adventures, the courage to remember that I am, and always will be, surrounded, both physically and metaphorically, by all of you.

By my Live Oak family.

Wherever I go in the world.

***

Sometimes “thank you” just doesn’t express the depths of gratitude or appreciation I have for a place or a people, so in the mean time:

SBDR: Strong branches. Deep roots.

 

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