Thursday, September 4, 2008
Labor Day Weekend
Of Camp Wandawega, Mia confessed to Randy, "I thought it would be creepy, but it was fun." Her creepy feeling may have come from Randy initially describing the place as "a campground;" "magical forest playplace" is more apt.
When Mia called it "fun," she may have been remembering the art and crafts tables under the trees on a sun-dappled hilltop. Sparkly sand and finger paint picture frames.
Or the rope swing hung from a giant cottonwood at the edge of the lake. Mia flew high and long up and over the water, screaming with glee.
Or the stuffed raccoon and squirrel whose fur Nora ruffled with the fireplace bellows as she said of antlered deer heads over the mantle, "That's the baby and that's the momma!"
Or the babies, the dogs, the couple of ferrets who showed up. The girls don't know the names of the games that lay around for our pleasure, the horseshoes, the archery bow and arrows, the shuffleboard, croquet, and volleyball, but they explored them with curiosity and interest, like scientists, like pioneers, discovering new ways to play.
Most likely she was remembering the beach where she and her sister paddled and spilled sand into the water as food for the bluegills. Surprisingly, the sprinkled offerings didn't chase off the fish, who swarmed without fear around our legs.
Surely Mia was not appreciating the perfect Adirondack vintage shabby chic of the camp - The sign for the "Showers" spelled out in twigs, the antique enamel washbasins filled with old-fashioned soaps.
On the third floor of the dorm, built out over the steep slope of the lakeshore, a beautiful room with dominoes and giant playing cards on the Heywood Wakefield furniture and a breathtaking view through the fire escape's screen door down to the swim beach. We see two teenage girls on the diving float surrounded by sparkling water.
Who designs this experience? How do you grow a talent for visual artfulness? To balance three jars of buttons on the shelf for maximum joy, to anticipate the comfort of the lunch menu written in chalk on a small board over the vintage ice coolers filled with beer, pop and juice boxes?