Another old friend sent me a message from out of the blue: she was in town with her family, and did I want to meet up?
It was like time hadn’t passed. She looked the same as when we were sixteen, credit campers spending a month learning Swedish at Sjölunden.
What I remember most, or first, at least, is how after lunch during tupplur, (nap time, literally “tricking the rooster”) she made sure we were all silent. We were in high school, cramming 180 hours of immersion language learning– the equivalent of a year of school– into four weeks. Tupplur was for little kids… But Sabina was serious about sleeping, and we all followed suit. I think we were the only credits ever in the history of camp to not only nap but to demand it.
“You used to have that white bear…” I said. “Snowflake? I still have him!”
We walked up the Superior Hiking Trail behind her four-year-old daughter and ahead of her husband and two-year-old son. Her daughter had been adamant, savvy, self-possessed in expressing she did not want to left out of the nostalgic catch-up hike her mom and I were going to take, so it became a family affair.
How do our orbits intersect like this, swinging so far out you’re sure that person only has a place in your past, and then suddenly it’s 1997 and you’re learning how to dance and conjugate Swedish verbs and be the whole hidden person you always wanted to be fully out in the open: excited and passionate and sooo nerdy about Swedish and languages in general? What a gift it was to be there with those girls at that time. One of my other best camp friends is now the dean. Another came back and worked as the camp nurse while her kids and mine started the cycle together.
I would have been more than satisfied with the memories– I’m so excited for a whole new round.