1 thought on “Summertime!”

  1. I remember being 16 and working as a counselor at the YMCA’s Kings Landing Camp, 700 acres on the Patuxent River in Maryland ( http://tinyurl.com/o29b5m9 ). I had a group of eight 12 year old boys and we shared a large tent on a wooden deck in the trees, right on the edge of the river. I would roll up the tent flaps at night, leave the mosquito nets tied down, and we’d keep cool in the breezes that came along the river. There was an old farm across the river but otherwise we were surrounded by forests and tidal marshlands.

    We had snakes and birds and bugs galore. The most impressive birds were the blue herons – here’s one flying down the Patuxent: http://tinyurl.com/q4e56rw. For snakes we mostly had black snakes but also green snakes and copper heads. I remember casually stepping over what I thought was branch in the grass only to realize it was an enormous black snake taking in the sun. We also had snakes with their tails curled around low branches and hanging down out the trees like a letter J. I guess it’s a good way to stay still and scan the surrounding bush for food. It was always startling, though, to be hiking through the trees and find yourself eye to eye with a snake.

    Towards the center part of the camp, the ground sloped up away from the flood and tidal plains of the river making a sort of central prominence, or central upland, maybe 40′-50′ in elevation. I remember sitting up there in early summer, looking over the river and the canoe dock. Everything was completely alight with fireflies. They were in the grass and in uncountable numbers all through the trees. The darker it got, the more spectacular it became. It was like an animation of a story book fairy land. There had to be tens of thousands just in my field of vision. I would go up there almost every night to smoke a few cigarettes and watch that amazing scene.

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