Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Camp Life.

These long strips of wooden benches remind me of summer camp in Alabama.

Riverview Camp for Girls.
Camp McDowell.
I was quite the camper.

The Troopers at Skyline met on the basketball court just beside the Dining Hall.
Our club color was green.

Green like the shady, soft grass near the gym, where the boys were dropped off in a yellow school bus for our camp dance.
So much cologne.
Spiky gelled hair.
Pre-teen sweat.
I just tried not to get stuck in the middle of the gym: Every smart girl knew to hang the perimeter.

Our club color was green, like the sun-kissed patch of grass just below the zipline.
The zipline that I almost didn’t go off of at age 7.
My legs dangled off the sturdy wooden platform like wet ropes in the water. 
My belly was bottomless.
My head spun wildly.
I was so scared I couldn’t think. 
But after some very kind and patient coaching from someone up there in that tall tree, I finally inched my way off the ledge, like a baby bird leaving her safe, warm nest for the first time.
And when I climbed down the ladder after the zipline ran its course, my heart still racing, I remember feeling proud of myself, that I could do something hard like that.

I liked to watch the older girls at camp, wanting to be just like them when I grew up.
They wore overalls, no makeup, and high ponytails.
Their voices were hoarse by the end of the week from all the camp cheers.
Veins bulging out of their necks with every word they yelled.
Hands clapping fiercely like there’s no tomorrow.
I learned the first day of camp that the louder you yelled, the more respectable you were.
Cheers were to be taken very seriously at camp, and to shout in reckless abandon meant you were a warrior for your club, your tribe, your people.

Somehow I still feel like that little girl.
Just watching the big girls yell with passion and courage.
They do it so well, so effortlessly, like warriors.
And I still want to be just like them when I grow up.

The camp life has its sneaky little way of revealing hidden truths.
Like, You don’t have to wear makeup to be seen.
Or, You don’t have to be quiet and timid as a female- You can actually be a warrior for your tribe, proud and fearless.
The camp life tells you that you can inch your way off ziplines and say no to sweaty boys who don’t know what they want.

At camp, I felt strong.
I felt free, alive and worthy.
And that little girl is always in me, telling me to go for it- that maybe I will climb down the ladder after all this is over and say,

I’m proud of myself, that I can do something hard like that.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

To Share the Light Like Dinner.

Maybe tomorrow.
Maybe the next day.
Maybe some day soon.

I will tiptoe out of the water and onto the land.
I will no longer be afraid to be seen in the light.
I will wake up and not be afraid of the world.

Maybe, just maybe, I will see that still, small beam of light as my only option in this busy world.
That light- she is soft and smooth in color, easy to the eyes, soft to the touch- like a baby’s cheek at the backside of your finger.
She is quiet, calm, and subtle- like the barely noticeable whisper of the human voice at the top of a song.

That light- she is the sultry, thin mist steaming off the morning water.
A spider web rising off the skin in feathery layer beyond layer.

I have been thinking a lot about light and dark lately.
Two opposites.
They compliment each other so beautifully, though.
Without one, you can’t have the other.

What is my light?
What is my darkness?

It changes by the day, really.

Tonight, quite literally, my light is a lamp.
My darkness is the wilderness outside of a window in Ashland, Tennessee.
A beautiful and reluctant green moth is glued to the window.
Her feet stick like honey to the glass as she watches my every breath and we share the light like dinner.

Some days my light is my creative energy, my yes, that forces me forward when I want to say no.
And my darkness can be my no- keeping me hidden underneath the dark water, keeping me afraid to rise up to my neck and be seen by the light. Exposed and worthy.

Some days my darkness is all the metal outside and the interstate noises and the polluted air.

Sometimes my light and my darkness crash in my dreams.
Like the heavy chunks of metal on the interstates.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I need more light.
More light to my darkness.
To share like dinner with a moth against glass.

Here’s to the light.
Here’s to the quiet kiss of light and darkness.

Here’s to growth.