I spent last weekend in the company of close friends, though truly, they are more like extended family. I was at the 85th Reunion at Eagle’s Nest Camp, and we were all “growing home.”
The mountain air was fresh and brisk in the morning, and gave way to a pleasant warmth as the sun rose over the valley. We laughed as we shared memories, both new and old, and engaged in some of our favorite camp traditions: singing, meals, square dance, hiking, campfire, and ceremonies.
I feel lucky to have been a part of this reunion because I have only known of Eagle’s Nest for three years – some have been going for over 50! It seems no matter how long you have known “The Nest,” it becomes a part of your story. Friendships formed at Camp are deeper because of our shared sense of place and our commitment to community and kindness. I can honestly say that I have met some of my closest friends there.
On Saturday morning, I was able to run the big valley loop. While running, I realized a large part of my Eagle’s Nest story took place on the roads around camp. I passed the gravel road that would make a short loop, the house with the barking dog, the pasture with the horses, and the fields of corn. Because I was never a camper or student, I was always entitled to the roads as my ritual retreat. Here I could be near camp, but also away, in a time and space I created. Some who visited camp this weekend needed to go into the woods and on to the trails that were the site of some of their greatest growth and fondest memory. I needed the gently rolling pavement of Hart, Crabcreek, Old Hendersonville, and Everett. Happily, we all found our way home.
I left camp this weekend with my soul refreshed. The next reunion is in 15 years. Where I will be then is nearly impossible to guess, but for now, I know there will always be a home for me on Hart Road. I cannot think of a better way to welcome the arrival of fall.