Opening camp

Camp from kayak 6_10_2011 002Memorial Day weekend means it’s time to open up camp for the summer—time to put in the water line, plug in the refrigerator, and move ourselves, our pets, and a stack of books the three miles from our house in the village of Locke’s Mills to the east shore of North Pond in Woodstock.

This is not the kind of camp-opening my mother used to do—the kind that required a lot of hot water and bleach, and entailed washing windows, scrubbing floors, and putting fresh linens on all of the dozen or so beds, before she could relax enough to sit down and enjoy the view of the lake. That will come, later (maybe), over a period of days and weeks, as I work my way through a list that, this year, also includes building a new screen door, scrubbing mildew off the deck, and replacing some boards on the boat dock. Some of the things on this list won’t get done this summer, and that’s OK, because it’s camp.

For me, opening camp means getting the kitchen to the point where I can fix a simple supper and bake a batch of my traditional first-night-at-camp chocolate chip cookies, and feel reasonably confident that we won’t be ingesting dead spiders or mouse poop.

It means pushing the piles of clothes and books and magazines to one end of the big oak table—the same table where I was placed on a blanket during my very first summer at camp, to lift my head and look out the window at the lake—so we can set up the Scrabble board for our first game of the summer.

Opening camp means getting some things done and leaving others undone. It means puttering around, slowing down, and settling in.