It's been a sunless summer on the Oregon Coast. It's the coldest summer on record, with fixed, gray skies and 6o degree days.
On this rugged edge, we rarely need sunscreen. Sweatshirts and fleece are the year-round uniform.
The Summer Writing & Adventure Camp endured a good share of gloom last week. Now in its fourth year, the one-week camp for middle school students combines writing with outdoor adventures to help youngsters see, experience and express their world in new ways.
This year, students hiked the temperate rainforest at Cape Perpetua, kayaked the Alsea Bay, and battled a blustery wind across the Alsea Bay Bridge. Clamming was cancelled because it was too cold (52 degrees) to bear the combination of cold air and cold water. Our beach walk was abandoned, too.
The kayak trip on Thursday, however, would not, could not, be cancelled. It was the carrot of the week. One boy showed up Monday in his gear, ready to go (four days too soon). And many of the kids admitted they didn't really like to write but really wanted to kayak.
On Thursday morning, the sky spit rain. The thermometer dropped. But the kids were still ready and eager. I added layers of clothing, and supplied extra coats. One young camper told me, "I never expect it to be sunny so I'm never disappointed."
But I am not so wise. Even after six years of coastal living, I still expect a summer season. I spent much of last week seeking divine intervention. And in the critical hours — as our hapless group launched from the shore and paddled against wind and current across the Alsea Bay — the sun shined when we needed it most.
Summer Writing & Adventure Camp was redeemed! Hope returned. And I was cheered enough to know that even in the gray, bright spots will still shine.
How to be a Summer Camp Adventure Writer
Look for skies to part,
clouds to thin,
sun to shine.
Hike a trail.
Touch sitka, alder, fir.
Carry flowers. Lick slugs.
and small words like
Yes, Please, I will try.
Against wind, walk a bridge.
Collect words. Let poetry
blanket, comfort, ignite.
Paddle a slough.
Cross a bay.
Listen for heron,
egret, gulls, for the
giggle of troubles lifted.
Reach for words,
- Drew Myron