Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at a camp gathering. A group of past, future, and current campers and counselors gathered to watch the summer 2008 video and talk about why and how camp has meant so much to us. We even sang a few songs. And when I left, I felt infinitely lighter and happier than I had when I arrived. The magic of camp.
A while back one of my good camp friends requested that I tell the tale of how I sat on a dead baby bird. Since you all know the punchline already, I'm going to paint a fuller picture for you...
It was a typical day at camp during my my Senior CT summer. "Senior CT' means it was my second summer as a counselor in training - the first was spent learning first aid, CPR and lifeguarding while the second was spent teaching archery and swimming and standing in for counselors when they had days off. Oh. And living in a tent with seven of my best friends. Not a camping tent - a platform tent (see left - to this day, we still have people ask us how we fit 8 of us and our trunks full of stuff into one tent).
So that you can picture the bird scene as accurately as possible, it is important that you know that at my camp we had a camp uniform which consisted of a light blue or white t-shirt and navy blue shorts (unless it was Sunday - on Sundays at camp, campers and counselors wear their "Sunday whites" - white shirts and white shorts). (unrelated: I believe that our Sr CT summer was when we all began wearing Loony Toons underwear under our whites because we thought it was cool that people could see the cartoon characters through the white shorts) (I suppose it might also be important to note that it is an all-girls camp).
I spent the morning jumping in and out of the lake teaching swim lessons, changed into dry clothes, and then headed to the dining hall for lunch. At camp, breakfast and dinner are eaten inside the dining hall, but lunch is eaten outside. Campers and counselors go through a buffet line to get food, then head outside to find a place to sit.
I headed outside with some friends. We were lucky to be toward the front of the line, so we got out early enough to grab a spot in the shade. We sat down under the birch trees to eat.
Very soon after sitting, I became aware that there was something under my left upper-thigh. I shifted my weight and put my hand down to brush it away and felt something mushy. "Mushy" not being the feeling I was expecting, I looked down to discover that I had accidentally (let's repeat that again for those of you who might have missed it: ACCIDENTALLY) sat on a dead baby bird.
I screamed, jumped up, and brushed off my shorts. My friends hadn't seen what I had seen*, and asked why I was screaming and jumping and laughing. I pointed to the bird on the ground and kept brushing at my shorts and soon I had all my friends screaming and laughing too.
You all might ask how I know the bird was dead before I sat on it... I don't. But I don't like to imagine myself as a killer of baby animals - so to make myself feel better, I have told myself for the past 13 years that the bird fell from the tree and was dead as soon as it hit the ground.
Lesson learned: always look before you sit.
*Any of you who were there, feel free to enter your own version in the comments.