Ever have a memory just pop up out of nowhere? The other day on my walk, between swatting bees and jumping puddles, I saw some amazing scenery. The trail paralleled the river, so the sound of constantly rushing water blended with the sound of my footsteps falling on gravel. I came around a bend and had an open view of the river with a short path to the edge. The sun was just heating up and the trees were steaming… midst rising from them was hanging over the white water as the sun shone through. It was this picturesque view, and the sounds of the woods that transported me back in time to when I was a young girl at camp.
From the time, I was six or seven I was a camp girl. My mom tells the story of coming to pick me up the first year, worried about how I did only to arrive and have me burst into tears because I had to go home. I think it broke her heart. Every summer for 10 years after, I went. From being a regular camper to a co-counselor in my high school years, I loved every minute. Bugs and snakes didn’t bother me. I could canoe, shoot both guns and arrows, ride horses, make arts and crafts and swim the lake. I made new friends every summer. We sang camps songs every night at dinner, then after we played games like Hatfields and McCoys. It was my kind of place out in the middle of nature, with constant activity. I loved the summer storms when the rain would hit the tin roof of the cabin. The cabins were rustic, no windows, only screens, but to me this was perfect for hearing the sounds of the rain, and smelling the fresh air after. Those were good times.
The sight of the river on my walk, brought me back to one of my favorite spots at camp. Each morning after cabin clean up, we had devotions. It was a time where we talked about a scripture verse for the day. Then we had some time to go off individually to reflect on the verse. I think we had notebooks and our bibles, and everyone went off on their own. We couldn’t go very far, because when the bell rang it was time for classes to start. I had a special place, down by the creek, where I went each day. I had to move quickly because it wasn’t very close to the cabins. I would read over the verse for about 1 minute. Then I would take off my shoes and wade into the creek to hunt for salamanders and crawdads. Do you get the idea I wasn’t a very girlie girl? Upturning rocks, and rubbing my toes through the sandy bottom, I loved my morning retreats under the rhododendron bushes. I found frogs, tadpoles, and tiny fish, along with my salamanders and crawdads. There was a bunny that lived close by who would come and watch my efforts. At the time, I felt that I was cheating because I didn’t spend the allotted time “with God.” But now I see that I was with him all along.
All of this came back in one moment, while sitting by the river…the feeling of adventure and wondering what was in the river, the desire to take off my shoes and wade upstream…all of it. It is amazing to me how strong the sensations of memories can be. Some of my favorite ones are from the camp that helped to shape my childhood summers. They can come back with a smell, a sound, or a picture…or a walk in the woods at just the right spot, with just the right light.
It also came to me that I am still spending time with God, each walk through the woods, he inspires me to continue on. I can reflect on my relationship with him all the way back to some of the beginning creek walks we took together, up until the ones I take with him now. Both the past, and the present come together in my memory to form my view of God and all that he means to me. Memories are a powerful tool to remind me of just how blessed I am.

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