What August Camp Has Done For Me
by Marcia Sikowitz
Columbia River Gorge, Stabler, Washington: August Camp 2017
My photo albums hold the spectacular images of our hikes, the vistas from the peaks, the wild flowers, the river flowing beneath the Bridge of the Gods, and the smiling faces of my August Camp friends as we help each other on our climbs up and down.
But my imagination and my heart forever hold the sights and memories that touched me to the core. My first night in camp I woke up to pee in the middle of the night, eased out of my tent hearing the grunts of elks in the distance, and I glanced up at the night sky. Time stopped, my mind cleared, my soul opened up beneath an other worldly night sky. Big sky, every inch filled with stars and constellations so close I felt as if I could reach up and touch them. The milky way gigantic and illuminated, and I knew my son Jake was here in this night sky. My son was killed in 2012 in hurricane sandy, he was 24 years old. He loved the wilderness, camping, hiking, rock climbing and kayaking. I looked up at that night sky, so brilliant and spectacular, and I knew Jake was here.
I hold the simple joys and warmth of sharing experiences with friends from the smallest moments of camp. I love waking early to the delicious smells of coffee, grabbing my mug off the cup tree, and huddling around the coffee tent with the intrepid folks who are going swimming. I am not going swimming, but I love sharing my coffee with them, and the quiet banter and whispered conversations with the early risers. And I love the innocent camaraderie of the lunch tent. It is a simple task we all participate in, and I love waiting on the line and chatting with friends, getting advice from seasoned campers on lunch techniques, and feeling grateful for the generous assortment of lunch items to choose from.
August camp has given me priceless gifts of beauty and friendship and being completely present in the wilderness.
Thank you August Camp.