If you have a cottage or camp or second home in the mountains, on a lake or at the seashore, you’ll recognize this idea: Going to camp isn’t about exploring, its about returning.
When I write “camp” I don’t mean camping in a tent or summer at sleepaway camp. Those are great experiences. But camping is about exploring and summer camp is about a time of life.
Returning to an Adirondack Camp is like returning to a home that is more than a home.
Your home is, I hope, comfortable and a respite from the day’s burden. But it is a place that is directly connected to that day-to-day life. But an Adirondack Camp is set aside. For me, a good camp has no wifi, no cable, and maybe no or little phone access. A camp is a place to purge the mind and relax the fibers. A camp may lead to exploration and adventure, but that exploration and adventure may never get further than the front porch.
I am was born into camp culture and still spend as much time as reasonable in a camp on Chateaugay Lake in the northeastern Adirondacks. Sitting on the front porch this weekend, I thought about what makes camp culture different:
- At camp we eat camp food. Whether it is chili or barbecue or pasta, at camp you develop a menu that is different, or at least tastes different, than your home food.
- At camp we live with memories. The dresser drawers are full of clothes you couldn’t bear to throw away but had no room for at home; the rooms are full of furniture that was outcast from home.
- At camp we gather around a fire. What’s a camp without a campfire and stories and songs.
- At camp we play. In fact we have a license to play. Sure, at home we exercise and have parties. But how much do we really play? Play at home makes me feel guilty. There is garbage to take out and dishes to do. Camp gives us license to play.
So camp is more than a place. Camp isn’t traveling, it’s arriving, returning. We need more camp in our lives.