Monday, October 13, 2008

Morning Has Broken

I was raking the leaves in my yard today. I stopped to listen to the noon bells ringing through the woods from the church down the road.

I started thinking about Camp Sloane – a YMCA camp in Lakeville, Connecticut. Each summer, in August, I went away to sleep-away camp for a month. The first summer, I wanted to go away to camp because my best friend, Michelle, was going. The following summers, my PARENTS wanted me to go.

It was kind of scary being away from home for a month, but I liked living in a big tent with 7 other girls.
I loved waking up to reveille played over the loud speaker.
I loved swimming lessons in the small lake with fish that would nip you if you stayed in one place for too long.
I loved flipping our canoes over.
I loved the ritual “sing-offs” at meal times ("We are the PIONEERS, the mighty, mighty PIONEERS!)
I loved drinking “bug juice” (kool-aid) and eating pancakes covered in sugar.

Fifth-grade freedom is a great thing …

This afternoon’s autumn bells through the woods reminded me of the camp’s Sunday services in the woods.

At Camp Sloane, there were log benches that lined a shady grove. We would go down there, as a group, on Sunday mornings. Some of the counselors would bring their guitars. They would say some profound 16-year-old words and sing some songs. I think “Kumba-ya” was a regular number. (It was the ‘70s). My favorite hymn was “Morning Has Broken.” Camp church spoke to me because we got to worship outside. I could feel and understand in my bones that God is everywhere.

It is funny, because when my husband and I had just married and moved into our new home, we decided to go "shopping" for a church together. One Sunday, we decided to stop in at the little church down the road. We opened the doors and the whole congregation turned and looked at us. Then the first hymn they played was “Morning Has Broken.”

(Photo credit: Joe Tansey Jr.)

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