in due time: a story of camp 2016.

How do I even begin to explain Sjölunden 2016.

I live in a wonderful world whose technology often enables me to recapture the feeling of a particular time. Twitter, for instance. In any other instance (including previous years of camp), it would be a pretty complete capsule portrait of how it felt to be there, then. Not so this year.

I’ve talked before on this blog about my fondness for imagining that the past is, now, somewhere. This cropped up first when I first came to college, here where my dad went to school so many years ago, and also I’ve written about it in the context of returning to Sjölunden so many years in a row, and it’s happening now, too, in my return to a school where a still-teenage Red is somewhere, wandering around, figuring things out in her own stubborn way. I passed her at the mail center the other day. And she’s in this library somewhere, too. (Hopefully she’s not shivering from the A/C like I am.)

Basically, Sjölunden as it was in 2016 (which, I must say, was a damn good year) is still there somewhere, and that thought just gör mig glad.


-It’s kind of funny being the first ones there, being the first pieces of a group who will later become so close we cry saying goodbye to each other, and oh does it remind me of when I was a student and became so suddenly close to the 28 strangers I had moved in with only a month prior, only better.

-One can get used to working with people one disagrees with. They make one less nervous after a while, after a few years.

-The people one disagrees with? They are having a transformative experience too. They are having deep connective times with friends-of-their-right-hands, mastering difficulties, helping kids understand something, just as I am.

-The people one disagrees with? One can be friends with them. One can laugh, listen to their stories, offer up similar ones to make them laugh right back.

-I’ve been damn lucky to see the northern lights as many times in my life as I have.

-The more boats involved, the better the summer.

-Helping and being helped is one of the best feelings the world over.

-Romantic inclination is highly inconvenient sometimes, but it’s normal, not to mention totally part of the experience.

-Use your sounding boards. When people say, “I’m here for you,” let them be.

-Put time into your relationships.

-Music is one of the very best things for forcing you to be in the moment.

-I dance more at Sjölunden than I do anywhere else, and for better reasons, and better.

-“Bara mys” is okay.

-Puns and bad jokes will keep you happy.

-John Green was right: the meaning of life is mostly listening, some jokes.

-Singing together brings people together. Also, singing while drinking brings people together.

-Singing well makes me happy. Harmonies make me happy.

-Other people make me happy, in all their complex wonderfulness. Be they my annoying little brother, my backbone, my mentors, my fellow harmonizers, my teaching partner, my nerdy mys-mates, or those people with whom one’s connections are indefinable, they make me happy.

The so-called fact that I won’t make it back next year has been called into question, partially by changes in circumstance and the great unknown nature of the future, but partially by the deep, deep love I have for this place and the people there. I struggled for many years with feeling myself part of the family. This year it was no struggle. It was a joy, even if it made me mad (as families do). I don’t know if I can leave it behind just yet. I don’t want to know yet.

Mostly I want to go back, and let that kind of love live on, all the time. It’s still happening, somewhere, but where that is, I don’t know.

Jag längtar efter det, var det än är.


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