I have written about Caroga Lake many times before. I write about it when I’m here, when I miss a summer, and when I am asked to write about a favorite memory. Sitting here at camp, there is no better topic.
|View from the porch|
"Did you know it would be like this? Is this what you envisioned when you bought the place? Did you know we would love it so much?"
There are few places in my memory that are so engrained as this one; few places with as much tradition. Like a liturgy: you sleep there, I sleep here, this is where we have breakfast, this is where we toast marshmallows.
The paint is peeling. Peeling in straight geometric lines that indicate lead paint. Some people might call it a death trap, I call it camp. Everything squeaks and creaks, if you need something in the kitchen you better look through every drawer, don’t use anything in the medicine cabinet - it’s probably been out of date for at least 10 years, the oven is quirky - don’t trust the temperature reading, the faucet is lake water - don’t drink it. A realtor would describe it as ‘charming’.
The breeze is beautiful, the air smells wonderful, of pine needles and mountains. The birdsong is clearer, the water bluer.
Great Grandpa Carnrite,
When you bought Ja-Mari-Ette 5 generations ago, did you know it would be like this? Did you know we would cry the summers we missed? That it wasn’t really summer without time at camp. Did you know that we would do our best to get here every year even for just a weekend? Or a night? Did you know your great, great, granddaughters would be swimming off the same beach where your children swam?
Aunt Marion kept talking about selling the place. When I was in high school it seemed a very real possibility. I cried about it. Now I realize she would never have sold camp, she never could have sold it. Camp is a gift. Great, Grandpa Carnrite might not ever have known me, but he knew I might happen, and that’s why he bought the place.
Camp will eventually be sold. I know this. My adult mind knows this. But until that moment when I actually do have to let go, I will not loosen my grip. One day it will happen, another family will be here. Or the place will be torn down (more likely). Caroga Lake summers will end.
But right now, I’m sharing it with my daughter.
|First Morning at Caroga|
What topic do you return to again and again in your writing?