Out of 314 boys, we are honored to welcome 55 of you who will be orientating yourselves in this place for the first time. Others nearly bypassed the formalities entirely and embarked cabinward as quickly as possible. “Wait,” a mother said to her son, “I don’t know where we’re going!”
“I do!” he replied, barely slowing.
Many of you have been here for past summers and for that reason many of you already know one another from those days. When we return to a place we’ve left and to people we’ve missed, we like to see what’s changed, what news was wrought from the time and distance between us. In the cabins, those eager questions were loosed: “What did you do this year?” “Did you play soccer last fall?” The answers to those questions find a good space in that warm room of memory and comprise to mark our height against its wall: a demarcation of the old and a starting point for the new.
After lunch, campers prepared for the new. They raced excitedly around the gym in an apparent randomness that belied the directness of their destinations. Friends lined up before the counselors who were posted among activity sign-up stations, turning around to strategize and confirm so that their schedules would sync as much as possible.
We have campers both new and returning, and after dinner each of the two were brought into a single fold as the tribes introduced their leaders and played games wherever games could be played.
There was some speculation about the weather, but the rain held off for the entire day. That is, until the bell for campfire rang at the edge of the evening. We very nearly held the opening ceremony in the gym, but a quality in the rain made us wait, some sort of easiness in the way it fell—or perhaps an easiness carried by those upon whom it fell: a few raincoats came out, but most went on without bother, welcoming it as they welcomed one another. The late sun, maintaining an interstitial gap of sky beneath the clouds and above the ridge, cast its light upon the rain so that each individual drop was lit through and a-gold, transilluminated by soft brilliance. By the time everyone was seated, the rain had passed and the fire was lit. Embers and candles ushered in the dusk.
It may be a familiar place for so many of you, but it is a new summer for all of us. Tomorrow it begins!