white pebble

I am in here.

Torch Lake

Lisa Jo sent us the five-minute Friday prompt from the most lovely state that I can think of — Michigan, where the cherries are currently bursting off the trees — and the word is Belong. I learned how to belong and how not to belong there in a summer camp on the shores of Torch Lake.

I had never met mean girls before I was installed there for an eight-week stay when I was ten. After some rockiness in the road my first few days there due to my homesickness, I truly took to the place.

And suddenly writing this, I remember all of the good things:

  • the blue of the lake
  • the smell of woodsmoke from the fires we learned to build
  • the dust and sand on the hard earth of the paths
  • the whack of the doors to the cabins as they swung shut on their springs
  • the cold of the nights that made my three doubled up blankets necessary

And the mean girls begin to pale in comparison. I was going to write about them when I saw the word Belong and the word Michigan. But they pale suddenly.

I met up, a couple of weeks ago, with a cousin of mine who went to that camp also as well as another camper who I knew, one of the Big Girls, but didn’t know she lived in our same city. We are all having a reunion later in August. I am looking forward to it though working out the travel logistics from Denver to Traverse City are a bit of a puzzle.

I will get to remember again the smell of the birch and pine forest, and sing the old songs again.

It’s easy to get lost because it’s always easy to forget where you are. Lost is what you get when you’re looking at a memory of where you have been instead of looking at where you are right now. Lost is what you have when you begin to regret where you have been instead of honoring each step of your way. Lost is where you are when you begin to judge the steps of your past.

I’ve regretted a lot of the steps that I have taken in my life — currently among the top ten are the steps I took that once led me to visit Israel eight times in five years long ago. But I still have the memory of the country in my head, and I realize that I am glad that I have been there. For whatever the reason.

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