fbpx

Bear

Hello!

You’ve made it! The staff biog page. My favorite page on the Camp Augusta website, and maybe your favorite too.  There is so much I would like to tell you about — my fear of zombies, my favorite tea, the harmonica. And then there’s you! I want to know about the music you love, and what you’re reading, and if you think magic is the best kept secret in the world. There is so much to go over, but we can wait until you have picked your bunk and unpacked a few things to get into the important details. In the meantime, would it be ok if I told you just a few significant things about me? We’ll call it a brief history of things that make me smile:

Coffee shops!

My favorite going out is to a coffee shop. It is a little adventure every time (like the time when I found a coffee shop covered in balloons – see above!). You might notice that people have strong preferences for their coffee shop: where they sit, what music is played, what kind of drink they like (My answers: 1. Outside  2. Anything as long as it isn’t too loud 3. Flat white). I find myself unusually able to concentrate at coffee shops, whether I am reading a good book, or writing a last minute paper, or studying my next solid gold dance routine.

 

Drinking coffee is an old ritual in my life. It began in the early morning light of the kitchen with my mom. We would sup coffee from our favorite mugs and talk about the upcoming day, what we must do, what we hope happens. A way of preparing for what was to happen next. I carried the warmth of those moments throughout my day.

 

And in a tiny way I revisit those memories when I sit in a coffee shop, sipping coffee, preparing for the work ahead, smiling all the while.

Sunshine!

Ah—how good is the brilliant sun with its beams full dazzling? I lived many years in the woods of the Northern California where sunshine was in abundant supply. During the week sunshine would mean wearing shorts and a tshirt (comfy!) and playing sports. I grew up playing sports, and  my absolute favorite was tennis. A sunny day after school often meant a game of tennis. On the weekend a sunny day meant working in my parents’ olive orchard with my three older brothers. We used to groan — quite loudly  at the time — about the work of digging holes, laying irrigation, and tending the trees. It is funny now because when my brothers and I get together, often our favorite stories to share are scenes from working in the olive orchard. Then when I went traveling I discovered how different sunshine can be in different parts of the world. Like in Australia where sunshine was an aggressive (and humbling) experience, or England where it was an almost sacred experience, or North Dakota where it often visible but not quite felt (that’s North Dakota in the picture!).

 

Across time and place sunshine has called me to go outside, to have fun, to smile.

 

Drinking coffee is an old ritual in my life. It began in the early morning light of the kitchen with my mom. We would sup coffee from our favorite mugs and talk about the upcoming day, what we must do, what we hope happens. A way of preparing for what was to happen next. I carried the warmth of those moments throughout my day.

 

And in a tiny way I revisit those memories when I sit in a coffee shop, sipping coffee, preparing for the work ahead, smiling all the while.

Friends!

The very best in the smiling industry, don’t you think? Friends are the most smiley of smiles in my history (I mean just look at those faces!). All good things usually begin and end with friends. In a world of cause and effect, having friends is the luckiest surprise. Just the other day I was telling a story about a friend back in Junior High who would shimmy up the drain pipe and sneak into school (the bus dropped us off at 7.15am and the doors wouldn’t unlock until 7.45am). My friend would hide in the library’s book return and come out when everyone was walking to their first class.

 

Maybe as good as having friends is getting to be a friend. Like when my best friend lost his house in a fire, so we went on a backpacking trip. We lived without shelter together for a few nights as way to begin to make sense of rebuilding a home.

 

Friends are frequently the safe harbor of our lives, and after you have been in a storm, safe harbor is enough to make you smile.

School!

I know, I know — you’re probably thinking camp staff always say they love school, and to eat more vegetables, and be sure to floss. I’ll be honest with you here, I did not always love school. In fact, if you asked me how I felt about school between the ages of 13 – 22 I would tell you that I cannot stand school. It’s why I dropped out of university after my first year. It’s true – I dropped out, went traveling, and slept on my brothers’ couch.

But that isn’t the whole story.

 

I dropped out in search of something to call my own, something miraculous. And somewhere along the way I found a desire to return, so I went back to school. And I am so glad I did. You know why? It turns out I love school. The classes, the readings, the discussions, the assignments, the classmates. All the dedicated learning. It is a bit like Camp but without any high ropes. Ok, maybe that is a stretch, but the idea of challenge and growth is there. And isn’t that what really excites you about Camp? That breathless question of “what might I accomplish?” and “who might I meet?” and “what will happen next?”. Well I found that in school, which explains why I am still in school to this day. It has become a place where I disrupt what I think I knew and imagine what could be.

 

And that is a thought that makes me smile.

Family!

My biggest joy, blessing, and at times, frustration. Ah, family — I wouldn’t want it any other way. In my family I have a lovely Mom, Dad, Three Brothers, and a handful of Sisters-in-Law. Our favorite thing is to gather around the dinner table to celebrations of each others’ lives while eating delicious food my Dad cooks.

 

It’s funny bit of witnessing – we don’t speak about ourselves as much as we speak about the persons sitting to our left and right. And these have always been my favorite stories; they keep me anchored when my ship threatens to become unmoored.

 

And, which is even more reason to smile, our family just keeps growing!

Poetry!

Ah, my heart. Poetry is my favorite language, the one that comes closest to birdsong. William Faulkner said the poet’s duty is to write about human soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. To remind us of the great courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which is the very goodness and glory of all our pasts.

 

Poetry is a pillar that holds up the temple of us, where I worship and am in awe.

Camp Augusta!

Any biography of me would be incomplete without saying something about Camp Augusta. I have been coming back to Camp for a while now, and every time I do I encounter something special, something that I think “how did I do without this all those years?”. Like many of you (campers and counselors), Camp has become a second home. A place so familiar even as it changes. I first started working at Camp Augusta in 2006 when I was 18 years old. The Giant’s Junkyard was new and the t-shirts were a gorgeous tie dye blue. I didn’t know it at the time but my life (and relationship to oatmeal) had just changed forever.

 

And this year I will be joining as the CIRCLE B co-leader with the wonderful and talented Natatouille (go check out her bio if you haven’t already!). And you know what? I could not be more excited for our upcoming three weeks of CIRCLE at Camp Augusta. All the months(!) of preparation leading up it, all that is in store while we’re at Camp, and all the reflecting on the memories after. Whew! Being a part of CIRCLE is something I have wanted to do for a looooooooong time, and I am so happy I finally get the chance.

 

And there you have it: a brief history of things that make me smile. Next it will be your turn to tell me everything that is on your list. We’ll compare notes and see what similarities we find. Maybe even over a nice game of ping pong. I’ll even spot you a few points just to keep it interesting. We’ll count everything that can be counted while there is time, I mean before the dinner bell rings and we have find ourselves with yet another item to add to the list.

 

Yum!

Adieu

In the meantime lovelies I hope you

drink lots of water

and remember your dreams

and read a little something every day if you can

and stretch

and reach

and feel

and have

and belong

and…… smile. J

 

 

Until we meet!!

– Bear

You must be logged in to post a comment.
Menu