Saturday, October 23, 2010

if this were a song I would make it taste like what grace is. and it would be as long as the hill is home. there would be a bridge that sounds like dreams and three chords that sound like what it feels like when we try something beautiful and it stays in our chest forever.

I'm currently sitting barefoot propped up on my couch, thankful for my last minute decision to forgo an early morning run in exchange for a mug of coffee, the latest New Yorker and the beginnings of writing a much-needed post about all the hearts.

All the hearts?” you ask. Let me explain.  Two weeks ago, I journeyed to Tuftonboro, NH to volunteer at Camp Meridian, a free three-day camp for kids with heart disease.  Last year, while in the throes of figuring out where my Life was headed next, an old friend asked if I could pinch hit as a bunk counselor.  I had no idea what i was in for but I packed a sleeping back, warm clothes, a head lamp and headed out to shake hands with one of the best weekends of my life.

This year was just as amazing as the first.  Some new faces, another adventure, great weather and a very special three days.  Our theme was the Midnight Train to Mombassa.  We were the Leopards, one of three groups who were working to bring the spirit of the drum back to the Chief so the animals, upon hearing the song of the drum, could once again return to their sacred land. I actually get really excited about this stuff - like right there with the kids in the woods in the dark examining the feather wondering, "what could this BE?!"  I'm still a child.  All good fun.  
I could write about how the kids were the most amazing, inspirational humans I’d ever encountered.  How the staff at Merrowvista (the 600-acre property run through AYF that hosts Camp Meridian) draw straws/throw their names in a hat/arm wrestle in the hopes that they get pulled to work the camp.  And every single one of them are flippn kickarse and have no problem jumping on a table or breaking out into song just because they feel like it. I could tell you about the property, the rolling hills and cabins tucked away in slumbering forests, and how when you wake up in the middle of the night the sound of silence is so loud that you’re not sure if you’re actually awake or asleep.  And all of these things would be true and viable and absolutely part of the reason this camp is awesome. 
But the real reason i love this camp, the real real real reason I love this camp is because the people who bring this camp to life believe in it.  I mean really BELIEVE in the good that it is.  With all of their heart they believe it.  And the day that one year ends is the day the planning begins for the following year. 

There are very few times in my life that I’ve seen passion.  I mean, sure, I’ve seen desire and love and dedication - all in parts.  I’ve been loyal to my work, my job, my friends.  But I don’t know that I’ve experienced a dedication to a dream that is seeing the fruits of its labor.  I hope one day I will see or come to know what that fierce passion and dedication feels like.   When you see someone who is completely and entirely determined to push through any barrier because of what they believe in; they are driven by a strength, an energy, a grace, a power, a love that stems from a source that runs far deeper than surface or practice or habit.  That kind of passion is so fully part of who they are that you can’t break them off from it to see what they look like without it.  They just, well, they’ve given who they are to it.  And it is beautiful to bear witness.

 I’m excited for next year.  The kids are growing up and that’s cool (and sad).  Mark won’t be there (he’s in high school now!), Tiffany and her yellow crocs better make an appearance, Sydney will be in the teen group (woot!) and I, well, I hope I have the blessed chance to walk into Danforth with a sleeping bag under my arms, a headlamp on my head, an appetite the size of a black bear (camp food; addictive. so is the coffee), looking for the markers to draw bunk posters, high-fiving super amazing humans that I’ll have the supreme honor of working alongside, and of course, the kids who...are just really cool kids.  Really awesome kids with futures as big as their smiles.  As big as their hearts.

ps. I know this may sound dorky, but almost every night since camp, I've worn the cloth strip the kids were given the final night (wearing it on my wrist in the pix of me and Syd doing our best Charlie's Angel pose).  The three different fabrics represent the three teams from the weekend; the Zebras, Leopards and Cheetahs.  And signifies the characteristics kids learned throughout the various activities; putting others before self, believing in yourself, stretching the boundaries of what you know to be true, hope, possibility, encouragement, hard work and a lot a lot a LOT of fun.   Wearing it reminds me of what matters most. 
it's too easy to forget those things! 

the road home, nh


  1. Kay,
    you got me tearie-eyed. What a passionate, heart-felt and fantastically written post. I'm right there with you...


  2. Kay,
    I just read this after reading your beautifully written post about yoga. You are an amazing spirit. You embody the exact passion you describe for these kids and have the ability to explain it. I've tried for over 7 years now to describe the "feeling" of this camp and have not been able to do it in such a gorgeous way. We are so lucky to have you on board with us! I'm right there with tywhy..I'm, a bit teary. Giant hugs to you and look forward to seeing you soon! :) Leigh

  3. much love to you both. i am so grateful to work alongside the biggest hearts on earth. i'm serious. i wish i could have your laugh around me all day, leigh! :)