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A Candle Still Burning: An Excerpt From My Memoir
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A Candle Still Burning: An Excerpt From My Memoir
This is a piece I am doing for my memoir about growing up and finding your place in the world. This particular piece is about camp, and the time when you have to leave camp.
Growing up too fast.
Poetry in motion, verses flying past her on the highway.
And she breathes in the air.
She can smell the perfume of decaying unpublished literature.
To her, it reminds her of home
And the Pennsylvania sunshine.
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (23)
Awkward (Poetry) This is just a spur of the moment poem. Inspiration comes from "So much for the Afterglow" by Everclear. [43 words]
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Empty Nest (Poetry) This is about a bunch of siblings who leave home for college and have to tell their mother that this is their choice. She can't come to terms with it. [94 words]
Garden Of Eternity (Poetry) A girl loosing the child within. [79 words]
Glen Of Purity, In Wood Of Dying Light (Anne Frank Diary Entries) (Essays) This is an essay I had to do for English class about what would Anne Frank have said if she had been able to take her diary with her to Westerbork, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen. I thought this was an ... [3,164 words]
Joby The Shiloh Silent Screamer - Essay Narrative (Essays) This was a paper I had to do for English and, I decided to put it in here because it explains the way I write. It's supposed to be a narrative of a young Drummer boy that was on the side of the Confed... [1,144 words]
Lapine Roles (Essays) Yay! My last English paper of 8th grade! This one's about the important roles that the Watership Down rabbits play. [933 words] [Animal]
Mr. Harrison (Dedicated To The Deceased Beatle) (Poetry) This poem is about George Harrison, who you probably know passed away on November 30th, 2001. He was an excellent guitarist, probably ranking up there with Vanhallan and Eric Clapton. A muscian with m... [36 words]
November Sun (Poetry) This poem is about a girl falling in love with a poet, after she finds inspiration in him. [250 words] [Romance]
Paint A Sky Gray (Poetry) This is about someone who's lost a love, and he/she wants someone to understand how it is. [136 words]
Paper Boat (Poetry) I wrote this poem after getting inspiration from the Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod story. Enjoy. :D [47 words] [Fantasy]
Push Me Away (Poetry) This is about some, well actually, a lot of heartach someone is going through. And, she can't break free from it.. hence, the locked in a box line. Enjoy. Let me know what you think. [126 words]
Ringing Bells (Poetry) I don't know where this came from. It's June and I'm writing a Christmas poem. [111 words]
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The New York Times (In Memoir Of Those Situated In The September 11th Tragedy) (Poetry) This poem is dedicated to mothers everywhere that lost their children that day. [79 words] [Relationships]
The Personification Of A Cello (Poetry) Assignment for Freshman English. This is definitely the best poem I've ever written. [59 words]
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A Candle Still Burning: An Excerpt From My Memoir
ZAP! Lightning flashed and illuminated the cabin’s interior. The walls shone with an unearthly bright light. Rain fell in heavy sheets and made a loud pattering noise on the tin roof, while precipitation leaked its way through open screens, making the wooden floors slippery. It was the last night of my last session at Camp Dark Waters, and it seemed that it would be a wet one. It had been raining all afternoon. Even during dinner we were not permitted to eat our meals in warmth and dryness. We had been confined to our cabins, because the downpour had gotten worse and the risk of getting hit by lightening or a flash flood was too high for a camp full of ninety-six children.
Usually, we loved the rain and invited it. It gave us a reason to find our ponchos, heavy sweaters, and rain coats hidden in the bottom of our storage trunks full of summer attire. It gave us a purpose for jumping in large, sandy puddles that formed between tetherball poles and ping pong tables. It was a Camp Dark Waters tradition.
Another custom of the campers of the camp was to hold a closing campfire, where all of the campers would crowd around a fire while counselors lead us in song and the camp director told stories of personal experience that had helped him grow. Some how, those stories all helped us grow, as well. But, it seemed that since the rain was so fierce and the lightening was such a threat, there would be no campfire. A first ever since I had been attending the camp three years before.
The twelve of the girls in my cabin all huddled around on one of the girl’s large comforter and snuggled into our sweatshirts. It would be our last year ever in the camp (fourteen is the oldest you can be), and the campfire had a sentimental piece in our hearts. Our counselors had tried to make our last night as enjoyable as possible. Natalie had salvaged some ice cream and root beer from the kitchen for us to have root beer floats (a treat for having gotten excellent behavior reports on her day off) and Tiersa had set up Scrabble for us to play. We laughed, joked, and had the time of our lives. We knew it would be ending soon.
At 8 o’clock, we got the word from Travis (the camp director) that we would be going to hold the campfire in the dining hall. We rushed as fast as our bare muddy feet would carry us to the dining hall, where all ten cabins were present, huddling together for warmth. In the center of a room was a bright lantern, to resemble a fire. We all knew what to do. Once we had songbooks in our hands, we began the camp theme song. Following that, counselors strummed slow and fast chords on their guitars, depending on the song, and we knew the words. We didn’t really need songbooks.
A certain song hit me deeply in my chest. “Circle Game” is sung at every campfire. The lyrics tell the story of growing up, a thing that each Camp Dark Waters camper has to learn to do when it is their turn to leave the land they have come to know as their sanctuary. Many girls in my cabin began crying, knowing that they’d probably lose touch of their friends, which had become more like a family. My friends and I clung to each other, never wanting to leave the safety of the dining hall.
“Stand by Me” was played softly in the background, as they called out the names of campers that would be leaving that session. My name was one of the first ones called. Those campers would receive a candle to carry out to the main area The little white candle symbolized so much to me. The friendships that had blossomed over the years, the heart I had had broken and mended and then torn apart again, and the happiness I could never truly describe in words, were all part of the last candle I would be carrying in name of CDW.
My fingers became waxy from holding the burning candle. The hot liquid that ran down the sides of the candles was scorching my skin, but I didn't even notice the burning. I was too mesmerized by the strong flicker of the candle, still burning in the heavy rain. My tears didn’t even put out the candle. Candles made young faces light up in the darkness of night, as we began our last friendship circle: “Here we stand, hand in hand. Wishing peace, freedom, joy – for each one. When there’s love in our hearts, God is night. Goodnight.”
My friends and I put all of our candles outside our cabin door, in two rows of six. In the morning, most of them were still burning. Those candles signified in the cold morning, showed us that the light was not only fire, but also our love of a wilderness heaven we had come to know as our “home away from home”.
|READER'S REVIEWS (2)
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"I came across your writing while doing a search for "camp dark waters". I attended many years ago, both as a camper and counselor. Your excerpt was well written, and brought back many warm memories. One note; the friendship circle song is "God is nigh" (nigh means near), not "God is night". Most of us got that wrong in the 70's too!" -- Carol Theodore.
"zcjeatwg lipxfw lfgdqakyc gzums bkzeqihng evrcdobfu kswjia" -- xmgok vmhfjzoa, uwbyazpvr, CA, USA.
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© 2002 Vianne-Marie Fortier
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