I write this by hand, sitting on the front porch of the Red Spruce Grove food shelter. It’s another warm, sunny morning at The Grove. A quiet breeze blows through the trees as the sounds of chopping echo from from The Kitchen and laughter carries over from the wild field. Campers are off playing the “look again” game as they study plants and flowers. Cook crew is making roasted veggies, tomato and basil salad, and fresh pumpernickel bread that Flying Cloud campers brought us last night! Camp is humming along on our third full day at RSG.

So much as happened already this session! On the morning of our hike from Indian Brook, the rain stopped just in time for our departure. We walked south on the Catamount Trail, stopping at Flying Cloud and Saltash Mountain camps. After arriving at The Grove, campers settled into their tents (Wild Iris, Mourning Dove, and Quaking Aspen). We shared our first fire-cooked meal and made some magic at our Opening Circle. Since then, we have been in full swing! Campers have started carving spoons, making fir-bark baskets, constructing on an earthen oven, swimming in the pond, learning how to harvest firewood, and cooking some delicious meals. Yesterday, we hosted Flying Cloud for shared afternoon activities, dinner, and an all-camp game. It’s awesome to see friendships forming and focused projects get underway.

Through all of this, campers have experienced moving further away from the usual comforts of home and technology. This experience of simplicity is one of the gifts of Red Spruce Grove, as campers learn to connect with themselves, their bodies, each other, and the natural world, instead of with screens and schedules. At RSG, we discover other, more simple kinds of technology, like a well-pitched tarp, or a copper pipe bent into a fire-blowing tube, or an axe swung properly. It can be hard to let go of the kind of advanced technology we’re used to, but once we do, a new world of experience opens up to us. Campers already experience this, as they use candles to navigate the dark, heat up water for tea on the fire, and write letters to friends and family at home. This summer, a popular game has emerged at RSG called “Pebble Cup,” which is just as it sounds: throwing pebbles into a metal cup. Yesterday, as we were playing, a camper said, “We don’t need video games. Just guveus a cup and some rocks!” Everyone agreed, though, that Pebble Cup wouldn’t be as much fun to play alone. Simplicity AND community!

Well, the sun is higher in the sky now and lunch is close to finished. Other than cook crew (which is Quaking Aspen’s task today), campers are finishing up time at their Sit Spots–special places in nature they seek out and visit alone throughout the session. I can smell smoke from the hearth fire and onions sauteeing in the cast iron skillet. Our community buzzes along happily, with the peaceful and purposeful rhythms of life at The Grove.

Until next time,

Tori

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