“I’m terribly nostalgic, but I’m with the Elizabethans who thought nostalgia was a disease. It’s a dangerous place to be because you can get caught up in it.” ~ Mark Gatiss ~
I think Mark Gatiss is correct. Being nostalgic is fine to visit however you don’t want to get stuck there.
Every time I visit my brother-in-law’s hunting camp a sense of sadness fills my heart. At the same time I feel filled with love and happiness from the wonderful memories shared at camp. The women would vacation at the camp in the summer. When fall arrived only the men were allowed. Over the last several decades the older family members have died and my brother-in-law, sister and their daughters have relocated to Florida and Kansas. Now, I just go and sit outside or walk to the pond to enjoy the view.
When I was a child they didn’t have a bathroom or toilet inside the camp. The earlier outhouse had two holes so I would go inside with my sister or mother. It was very dark at night in the Adirondack Mountains and before they installed electric we used oil lamps and flashlights. My brother-in-law’s brother and my sister had hours of fun building Tee-Pees and running through the woods playing freely in nature.
Out behind the camp was a path to the pond. The red shed is still standing along the path. Once a well-worn path, now it is covered in grass due to the lack of use. The view of the pond is still as beautiful as ever especially in the early fall – before hunting season begins.
In the early days they pulled water from the pump. Now it is more decoration than anything however if it is primed water will still flow. We get our drinking water from the fresh water pipe down the mountain from camp. Non-potable water is now pumped into the camp from the creek for washing dishes.
Before I leave it is always a special treat to see the creek and remember the uncles fishing. They would wear long sleeve shirts, even in the heat of summer, hats with netting, long pants and boots. We may not see them for the entire day. We were always allowed to share in the fun, even though I didn’t eat the fish. Sitting by the creek I felt their presence. The photo to the left is from the left side of the road and the one on the right is behind the camp. Sitting near the camp, listening to the flowing water takes me back in time. I can’t linger too long because the memory can bring sadness knowing that they are all deceased – Mom, Dad, Johnny, Adam, Winnie, Betty, Mike and many more. The best thing about camp is all the memories we shared there in my youth and then while I was mother to my own children. They are wonderful memories and one of the reasons why I find being in nature is so soothing.
“We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it.” ~George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, 1860 ~
When my older two children were young, they loved to run outside in the woods, fish in the creek, swim in the swimming hole across the street and build Tee-Pees out of sticks as we had when children. My older daughter took her first steps at camp. My son celebrated his 13th birthday and my nieces gifted him with naked playing cards. Poor Joe was outnumbered by all of my nieces and they enjoyed embarrassing him.
My youngest daughter spent hours in the woods pretending the area in the photo below was her home. She set up a stove, chair, and used small twigs and leaves in the pan for food to share with any willing adults who visited her.
“Nostalgia for what we have lost is more bearable than nostalgia for what we have never had, for the first involves knowledge and pleasure, the second only ignorance and pain.” ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960 ~
I am grateful for the wonderful memories of pleasurable times with family and friends. Even though no longer part of my life, it is such a great feeling knowing that my own children were able to share some of the same memories from my own childhood. It would be great to have similar memories to share with my grandchildren. They may not share in the camp memories however we are sharing nature in different ways and building our own memories.
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Love and Light!