Greetings from Namanu!
Ah, springtime. Just when winter seems a bit too quiet, Namanu bursts to life. I was strolling around the duck pond early this month when I saw the first trillium flower popping out, and just as I noticed that, I saw trees and bushes beginning to shoot bits of green from their tips. Ferns uncurled while robins danced on the meadow. Just as I was beginning to piece this all together, I heard the surest sign that spring has arrived: happy chatter in the dining hall.
Namanu springs back to life
People! I crept through the woods up to Raker, and peeked in. There they were, enjoying cookies and cocoa. It turned out they had come not to relax, but to help get Namanu ready for children! During the next few days, I tiptoed around with glee as people happily scrubbed windows, finished picnic tables, and swept leaf-littered bathrooms.
All that tiptoeing wore me out, and after the group left, I kicked off my shoes and settled in for a good nap. I was just having a great dream about a horsetail feast when I was jarred awake by what sounded like a school bus. School bus? I thought, Why, the salmonberry flowers haven’t even come out yet; surely it’s not time for a school bus. Peering out my window, I saw it wasn’t a school bus, but four school buses, filled with children! Forgetting all about my nap, I just about flew down to the meadow to help welcome them in.
These Outdoor School groups come to Namanu in spring and fall to learn about my favorite things: The plants, animals, water, and soil that bring Namanu together. My elfin heart goes pitter-pat when I see them touching nurse logs, catching caddisflies, tracking raccoons, and painting their faces with mud. I love to listen as they sing around a campfire at night. I think the best part of springtime is watching these lovely schoolchildren sing while they slosh through the mud.
The hammers are ringing
I’ve spent some time sneaking around Uncle Toby’s Story House, checking out the work done this winter, and I’m impressed. Inside, I noticed they replaced all of the rotting wood, and also built a beautiful new staircase up to Backwoods, which is one of my favorite places in camp. From my tree I can see the beautiful new windows they added to the outside, which give the building a very dignified appearance. Those windows were part of the original plans for the building, and I must say, I think the founding mothers and fathers of Namanu would be tickled to see them.
The moment they finished this huge amount of work on Uncle Toby’s, the construction crew packed up their stuff. As I was wishing them fond farewells, I noticed they drove the wrong way to leave camp! I waited for them to realize their mistake, but when they didn’t come back, I dashed over to where they had gone, and found them setting all their equipment up again, but now in the Blue Wing area! They’ve started working on another of my favorite buildings, the beautiful Blue Wing Lodge. I like to sit and watch from the stump of the old Love Tree. They’ve also started working nearby; it looks like they’ll be building some new cabins to replace the old Blue Wing ones. It sure will be lovely when the youngest kids in camp have their own full-fledged unit again.
Tidbits of camp
Spring is usually a good time for me to take things easy. Yesterday, after spending the morning wrapped up in a book, I moseyed down to check my mailbox, thinking Flank or Gertrude might have left me a note. I struggled to pull the door open; the darn mailbox seemed full! And indeed it was—with 120 letters from campers. I immediately sat down to start writing, but then it started to gnaw at me… who were these kids writing me letters? Usually I only get letters during the summer.
I ran to the dining hall, and sneaked in to ask Gertrude what was going on. She laughed and said, “It’s spring break camp! All those kids from the school programs come to camp for one night!” When I looked around, I saw a whirlwind great time at camp, with kids going on hikes, enjoying barbecues, roasting s’mores… I’ve answered 350 letters so far this week! For me, it’s a little warm-up for the summer to come, just about three months away. I’ve got the summer camp dates circled on my calendar, and I simply can’t wait to meet all the wonderful campers and counselors who play in the meadow this summer.
With that, dear campers, I bid you adieu. Here’s hoping your spring is as lovely as the one here at Namanu.