I’m the first to wake up.
Treehouse Sycamore is silent
as the campers rest, waiting for a new day.
I shout a good morning greeting
at the top of my lungs
and they comically stumble out of their beds
to look for the mud-stained shoes
they will wear for the day ahead.

The climb to the dinner hall isn’t long,
but the morning sun may as well be a flame in our eyes.
The smell of breakfast tickles my nostrils.
Pancakes. My favorite. But not before a prayer.

Let’s take a hike. Filling our bottles
with icy thirst quencher we set off.
I think I’ll go barefoot. More natural.
I keep counting heads to make sure
I haven’t lost any campers as we enter the woods.
The trees block the wind, and the sun beats down 
ever stronger, staining our shirts with sweat.
The adjacent lake reeks of rotting fish, 
leaving that taste in the back of my throat.

In the heart of the forest hangs a rope.
The kids can be Tarzan, or Spider-Man,
or whoever they want to be.
I’ll swing, too. First, I place my foot
in the loop tied at the bottom of the rope.
Kicking off from the platform, there’s a breeze
that cools my head, feels like I’m flying.
Closing my eyes,
vertigo.

As the sun falls, we make one more trek
out to the campfire.
The grass is cool between my toes,
and the rocks sting a little.

The sand around the lakeshore
has been dug out to make a fire pit.
I’m the designated guitarist,
dangerously close to the flames.
What if my guitar were to catch fire?
It would ruin this day, but the song
drowns out any fear or discomfort.

Back at the cabin, we smell like we just escaped
a burning house.
The exhaustion of the day has set in,
but I seem to be the only one affected.
I’ll stay awake long enough to make sure 
that campers don’t start jumping out of the loft.
Lights out. Time to refresh,
and do it all again tomorrow.

 


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