Our Sense of Time

Greetings from Hilltop. We’re just past the halfway point of Second Session, and all is as it should be. We’ve just had a fantastic Regatta Day, with all the campers spending a Sunday afternoon on the Dock. We’re getting ready for dinner and Evening Fire. Seniors are excited and nervous about their trips, which leave the day after tomorrow. Many campers feel like they’ve been here a long time, and that there’s a long time left. The outside world fades away a little, and what’s important is the here and now.

Camp does tend to warp a person’s sense of time. In the middle of a session, it can feel like we’ve always been here and always will be. Other times, we’ll notice how quickly time has passed. (“Has it really been a week since last Sunday?” “Wait, Seniors leave on trips on Tuesday. When they get back, Camp will be almost over!”)

I think where that warped sense of time comes from is our focus on the here and now at camp. Without crazy schedules and digital distractions, we settle into just focusing on the people and the activity of camp life. In our deeply distracted world, immersing yourself in just one thing for four weeks is a huge luxury. More than that, it’s a huge benefit for these campers. Technology has all but defeated boredom in today’s world. I’m just as guilty of it as anyone. When I’m standing in line to pay at the grocery store, why wouldn’t I check social media, the news, my email, or sports scores? But boredom can be the source of lots of creativity, of thoughts that wouldn’t have come to us using only linear thinking. These campers are using parts of their minds that, I’m sorry to say, many kids today never get to use. You see it all over camp, in campers reading a book, writing a letter or poem, practicing guitar, playing catch, or immersed deep in conversation with a friend. It’s rare and beautiful, and I try to never take it for granted.

It can be disorienting to have your sense of time warped. You might go days thinking that you have all the time in the world here at camp (we even sing a song with that line), only to turn around and realize that time is a great deal shorter than you thought (there’s another song that makes that point), but that disorientation is okay. It just serves to highlight what’s most important at camp and in life, our relationships with others. When we notice that time is short, we’re mostly noticing our feelings around time with our friends at camp being valuable, and also the time until we’ll renew our relationships with our loved ones back home shortening. Both of those are good feelings to exercise and get comfortable with, and so while the disorientation may whipsaw us occasionally, it serves a higher purpose.

And now, it’s time for that dinner and Evening Fire. It will be lovely, as always, to gather in the Lodge as a community to share music, poetry, and our gratitude for each other. Thank, as always, for sharing your children with us, which makes all of this possible.