This weekend we made the trip to Nashville to hang out with the Carricos. We went to the zoo, made lists with the two year old, talked parent stuff, watched the baby boys squirm, took our baby swimming for the first time, and ate a lot. Baby slept terribly; parents had groggy grown up time. Basically, it was great.
After dinner I took the pup on a walk. My in laws live right near the Harpeth River, and there is a beautiful, paved path near their house. Zeb walked me up the hill and down to the path. As we walked, I kept a sharp eye out for the inevitable poison ivy and the ubiquitous geese poop. While looking at the ground, I almost missed the black dots to my right. I must have caught them out if the corner of my eye, because they stopped me in my tracks.
Blackberry brambles. Thorny, wild, sun ripened blackberries.
I spent seven summers camping and working at Camp Marymount in Fairview, TN. Camp is about thirty minutes from the path we were walking, but for a moment, I was there. The air was heavy after the morning rainstorms, and the red maples and Virginia creeper and PawPaws and sycamores were vivid in the falling light. As I strained to keep Zeb next to me, I risked the thorns and ate some berries. Just for a few seconds, I was a thirteen-year-old, a high schooler and a camp counselor again. Camp holds an indescribable place in my mind and heart. It is the place where, for a long time, I felt the most free. I wore my ugly green and purple plaid shorts and swim goggles on top of my head. I sang loud. I learned about trees. I fell in love with long walks and the music of whispering tulip poplars. I never once apologized for being myself, which is the greatest lesson Camp ever taught me. I grew up, but I still wear those shorts (to my husband’s amusement) and use those goggles. I go on meandering walks with my family and pause to close my eyes and really listen to the wind in the leaves. I am my camp self all the time.
So I ate some blackberries and walked back thinking about how much a small patch of sweltering paradise has meant in my life. A line a white in the trees will never fail to make my soul smile.