Sometimes it is when I am the lowest that I appreciate beauty the most. Two nights ago I was in a foul mood for sure (thanks to a situation which has been addressed and clarified, if not entirely rectified), and after campfire I found myself sitting cross-legged on an inner tube by the swim hole (which is, hands down, my favorite place to spend a warm summer evening), watching the water, feeling weepy, and singing prayers into the night. I wasn't dressed for swimming, but I remembered things I had written about this water, and I watched the bats swoop above and the fireflies meander over the stream. I love the grayness of the night, and I was a little shocked to notice that the fireflies constituted the only spots of color I could see--or rather, they and their tiny neon green reflections.
Later that night, after a very necessary conversation and after offers from my friend Dean to do things like drink five gallons of scalding water "to cheer me up," I took Miley for a walk down the driveway--a choice which keeps me away from sleeping children and coworkers, but which also gives the very best available view of the stars and the moon and the horses on the hill. The sky was not as filled with stars as it sometimes is, but there was a fantastic partial moon, which had swollen and turned honey colored as it began to set, and there was a horse standing up on the hillside, perfectly silhouetted against the deep blue sky, which raised his head to look toward us as we passed by.
Yesterday I was not in a dark mood. It was a pretty average day starting out, and then the swim hole just felt amazing. And I spent some time with Melissa. I was helping with swimming stuff for three hours, and then spent all of dinnertime beaming around at my friends, siblings, coworkers and former campers. I get like this especially when the CiTs are here, and especially when I have the chance to step back and take a good look around. It's easier to be appreciative when I don't have a cabin, but a good group of CiTs or junior counselors will get me every time, and we have a really excellent group this year--several of which I've worked with since they were nine years old. It's a great thing to see people grow up, and grow into the people you hoped they could be.
In any case, the CiTs planned the evening program last night, which was water games. It was obviously not perfect, largely because they've never planned a program before, but it was pretty great. When it was over I took advantage of my lack of cabin and helped them rinse the tarps from the slip-and-slide in the swim hole in the deepening dusk, and talked to them about their past as campers and their possible futures as staff, and breathed in the evening before heading to campfire.
After staff meeting and after much debate, several of the staff opted in for a silent slip-and-slide in the field and swim in the stream, and, honestly, I think it was one of the best nights of my life. There's no way to describe sliding around on soapy plastic and whispered scoldings and giggling in dark water and racing down the slide, lying back in soap suds in a line of women and looking up at the stars that will ever in a hundred years do it justice. Kita (Cheetah) and I cleaned off the tarp in near silence in shallow black water under a deep blue cloudy sky, spread it on the grass, and met everyone again in the shower room for ridiculous jokes and toothbrush-mouthwash-facewash-shared-sink antics and uncontrollable hushed laughter, and the (possibly inaccurate, but still happy) realization that this wouldn't have happened anywhere else, with anyone else.