Fireflies in a jar
June 5, 2013 —
There are some things that, no matter how old I get, make me feel like a kid again. Regardless of how much I might have whined a few months ago, the first snowfall of the season still conjures up memories of racing outside to catch flakes on my tongue and mom stirring cocoa on the stove. Watching the darling buds of May emerge continues to mesmerize, as I attempt to catch their steady progression into full flower with my trusty camera at the ready. When fall arrives, and the leaves transform from green to gold, I continue to marvel at Mother Nature’s ability to transfix and rejoice in the glorious bounty she provides for those of us fortunate enough to be living in the Upper Delaware River Valley.
And then there’s the good old summertime. When I was a youngster, the end of school could never come fast enough, since I went to sleep-away camp for six weeks every year, until I was old enough to be a counselor-in-training at the now-defunct YMCA Camp Arrowhead in Little Meadow, PA. Ahhh, Camp Arrowhead. Of course, at the time, I had no idea that my absence from home constituted a vacation for the folks. All I knew was that I was going to be hauling out the sleeping bag, (flannel-lined with cowboys and Indians) and that hiking, swimming and learning about how the Native American tribes lived, fished and honored their elders, (undoubtedly a bonus for my parents, who hoped that some of it would rub off before I returned).
We bunked in rustic cabins, made lanyards for Mom and ashtrays for Dad (it was the ‘60s) and learned how to etch cool designs in thin sheets of copper, all the while unaware that our leaders were instilling family values and preparing us for adulthood. I am still in touch with my best friend from those days, Steve Lubs, and we often reminisce about our days playing “kick the can” and how our years at camp shaped our young lives. The brief window between the end of school and the beginning of camp seemed interminable, and we marked the time by catching crawfish in the Susquehanna River, and watching our moms sew name labels in every article of clothing. These would be packed in a trunk with room left over for cookies and the requisite postcards that we would supposedly send weekly, regaling the folks with our adventures, which culminated with the end-of-season “color war” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_war), testing our newfound skills.