I went skinny dipping.
Ok, don’t worry–it was 15 years ago, 40 pounds ago, and it was dark. 🙂 There were probably 20 of us, camp counselors in the middle-of-nowhere Minnesota, having one of those beautiful, fairy-tale summers. One where everything was so magical you actually thought getting into a LAKE in the DARK without a suit was a good idea. (I shudder…ugh. Blech).
I met my husband that summer. We started sending little notes to each other through the camp mail-system. There was a postal worker, and they’d sort the notes by cabin and drop them off at your table at dinner. One night, I got a note that said, “Meet me at the dock. 9:30.” This started a regular tradition. We would meet on the dock the nights when neither of us had to be with the campers, and we’d lie down next to each other and stare up at the vast galaxy of stars above us.
“My parents are going through a horrible divorce,” I’d tell him.
“I keep falling in love with people who don’t love me back,” I’d say.
But mostly, we just stared up at the sky. The water would ripple around us. Some nights, we’d end up running away screaming when we saw a raccoon, or maybe a snake. Some nights we’d have to leave early to plunge a toilet or help a camper who was homesick.
The most glorious part of that time for me was that in the whole world, there was just the two us, in total awe of nature and everything around us. It wasn’t even necessary to talk. No one knew where we were. No one cared where we were. It was us, alone, surrounded by the stark beauty of something so simple as a lake and a sky.
I just finished reading a book-a thriller-that took place in a summer camp. There was a tragedy that happened to this woman at camp when she was 13, and 15 years later she was asked to return to camp to re-open it.
I got a grin thinking about returning to this camp. A bible camp that we had to un-bible (it was so weird, going around and covering up crosses with sheets!), with a little chapel that I loved so much and never wanted to leave. The main lodge where I had spent hours getting to know incredible people from all over the world. I loved it. My whole life would be completely different had I not gone there.
But I couldn’t go back now. Nothing would live up to the fairy tale of the several summers that I worked there. We could never recreate the same feeling of hope and belonging and just plain love (and a lot of smelly people and some drama, too, just in case I’m being too idyllic here).
Tonight, though? Tonight, I am going to go out after my kids go to bed and the dark of a Wisconsin summer night settles in, and I’m going to bring my husband and lie next to him on the giant trampoline that sits in our backyard. And I’m going to pretend like no one in the world knows where we are, and just lie there, without talking.
It’s time to start making some magic of my own, even though I’m old and crotchety and wrinkly and fat and tired all the time. I’m not letting myself even get a breath. I’m stressed even where there isn’t much to stress about. It’s time!
Don’t worry, though–no more skinny dipping for me!