Kimmy Sophia Brown

Shine on Shehaqua Moon

May 29, 2007

The eight hour drive to camp seemed longer in the rain. Our brand-new Walmart car top carrier absorbed the downpour like a sponge. Scotchguard is a corporate LIE, I thought, as we arrived in the gorgeous mountains of Pennsylvania and unpacked our soggy duffle bags. We were parked 50 feet away from our cabin which was snuggled cozily among trees and wild blueberry bushes. We drove the van as close as we could to the cabin, off the red stone driveway into a pit of ferns and mud. We were met with the shrill sound and thrilling smell of burning rubber as we applied the accelerator. We attempted to go in reverse but instead sunk the front end of the van downward, as if spontaneously drilling for oil. Oh joy, we mused, and were so very glad that we were not alone in the deep, dark forest.

Pushing on the front of the van with several strapping lads who volunteered to help us produced no change except that besides the torrents dumping out of the sky, a gentle rain of mud sprayed down the front of our clothes like chocolate drizzle on a sundae. Then our savior arrived, the messiah of towing, Camp Director, Uncle Robert -- who unraveled his pretty, yellow tow rope and plucked us out of the pit like a cork out of a champagne bottle with his four wheel drive Suburu. All hail Uncle Robert!

Camp started that year with lots of rain, wet ponchos, damp sleeping bags, damp toilet paper and a general sense of hope that things would get better. Soon we were enjoying the lecture presentations, fine camp cuisine from Kitty’s Kitchen Corral and other camp fun such as s’mores around the fireside. A new adapted oldie was the camp version of “Louie Louie” with the new orthodox Mosaic lyrics, “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, ohh baby, let my people go -- yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah --” I thought they should have thrown an “oy vey” in there, but whatever. Maybe next year we can sing that while we eat s’mores with Halvah.

The night of the candlelight prayer was lovely. The sky cleared and the fire roared and songs were sung and candles were passed out. We scattered over the open field as the moon shown brightly down on us. Mysteriously, three people had significant, intimate moments with the moon.

A young man who said that he didn’t feel much during the prayer went back to the field afterwards to look for his flashlight. When he looked up at the moon he saw its face and he thought it seemed to be smiling and crying at the same time -- as if it had been moved, looking down at all of us.

A young, lovely pregnant mother looked at the moon while she was praying and thought she saw its lips move, saying, “I love you”.

My husband looked at the moon and thought to himself, what are the chances that the moon has a face? It’s more than a coincidence that cultures all over the world have seen the melancholy face in the moon. Then he thought that in the same way that comets might have carved the sad face that we all know, that someday when the world is restored, God will hurl a few more comets at its face and make a big smile. Wouldn’t it be great to look up and see a great big smile in the sky? My husband subsequently wrote a short story, posted on his website, called “The Day the Moon Smiled”.

As I spent time all week walking around the camp and observing all the families, I was struck with the beauty of the children, the little ones and the teenagers. The grown ups were all pretty average looking, not too many beauty queens or kings among us, but the children of these unions were exceptional! Such beautiful girls and handsome boys, with so much promise and energy and potential. I could feel God’s hope for them. How much He hopes they’ll be touched  by the beauty of creation, or moved in prayer, or by the words of a lecture or a close friendship or a song. As I looked at them I wondered who would make great scientific discoveries, who would make great achievements in the music world, who among them might someday be President of the United States? (Although the way things are going I don’t know if I’d wish that thankless job on anybody.)

When it was all over and our family got home we went through several days in withdrawal shock, pining for our friends and the beautiful woods. It’s funny that no matter how inconvenient it might be from a modern point of view, people still have the urge to camp. If you think about it, Adam and Eve started out camping. It must be in our blood.

Kim lives in Maine, which is lovely, and where she continues her enthusiastic relationship with Art, Music, Nature, Books, Animals, Humor and Trees.