Sunday, July 26, 2009

Places I Remember
A Visit to Camp, Part 2

There are places I remember, all my life
Though some have changed

Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain.
All these places have their moments
Of lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I loved them all.

Because I live an observed life, I had ideas of what I would blog about camp when I got home: memory, connectedness, smell as a memory-trigger, songs that are exactly the same, songs that have become dirge-like (seriously, "On the Loose"* is up-beat!), snapshot views that are real, etc.

But then stuff happened, and I have forgotten the thread. Impressions that remain: it feels good to see my former campers in leadership roles; I can see that the Council put money into the site this year, but not much love or attention to detail**; and that moment when I stared pointedly into the dark until Tent 12 showed itself against the sky, blank over the river.

I also remember sharing my little Friendship and Quote Books with the CITs and being caught off guard when I saw how much of my 18 or 20-something year-old self they captured. I remember weeping dramatically as we left one or two Augusts, but geeze! I feel that strongly, still, but quieter, maybe?

Click the "CK" tag below for more, and see also my poorly-maintained maroon website. Here's another "name the view":

*For instance, there's an awesome new low-ropes course in the little playing field. A volleyball net is still there, but you'd be hard-pressed to use it because some kind of pegs or poles have been left there so long that two or three pine trees have grown up around them, a strange oasis in the mown*** grass.

**Searching the song online was a mess, so I will give you two links, here: My first search I included "Lefty" -- with out my CIT notebook I could recall only her camp name-- and a I found a comment here [search with "lefty" to find it fast] got me the name of the camp. A search with the camp name got me here, where a comment includes the words.

***Really, spell check? I can't use "mown"?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


It seems the T-D apologized for its role in massive resistance. Too little too late? "Rats on a sinking form of media" is a totally messed up metaphor, right?

Let's see: "The hour was ignoble"; "complicit"; "regret" -- okay, about what I expected. What's this? "Memories remain painful. Editorial enthusiasm for a dreadful doctrine still affects attitudes toward the newspaper." Ha! Maybe I got close with "sinking media." After all, I have, one or twice, repeated my mother's words to phone salespeople: "No, I don't want to subscribe to your lousy right-wing rag."

But if I forgive them "right-wing" because of this July 16 editorial, will they next address the "lousy" part?

via Encyclopedia Virginia Blog.
A Visit to Camp, Part I

A few years ago, I started to work on learning to identify birds by ear. I'd call myself an advanced beginner, at this point. For example, every spring, I need to relearn the red-eyed vireo, a common self-chatterer in these parts; and once I do that, I name it with confidence (and, I hope, correctly) until it migrates again.

The last time I stayed at Kitty overnight in the summer, I had mastered the difference between a chuck-will's-widow and a whip-poor-will. And also, having had them try to nest in my tent flaps more than once, I knew all about the songs and calls of Carolina wrens. But beyond that, I wasn't too knowledgeable.

This past weekend, I heard so much that was familiar, or nearly so, that I had to remind myself more than once to concentrate on listening to people not the riot of birdsong! It was very distracting - how on earth did I live with all that chatter for so many years?

As I learned at a lecture at Maymont this spring (or was it last?), osprey (and eagles) have made a strong comeback from a 1970s die-off, and this was very evident along the Great Wicomico. An opsrey's was the first call I heard as I clambered out of the car behind the dining hall. It must have been one of the pair with the nest on a platform near the mouth of Blackwell's Creek that I could see from my tent in Pine Ridge. We used to make such a drama, in the 80s, of finding the one nest for miles right there on our own Jetty Point. Now, I imagine, like elsewhere in the Bay region, their nests dot every platform, dock, promising tree and buoy from camp to the Chesapeake.

As well as the osprey, wrens and a wood thrush welcomed me to Pine Ridge. Once settled, I was off for a day with the CITs.

I felt a little overwhelmed, as we talked at the Tree House, by the calling of pewees, and, later, of the chuck-will's-widow. Come on, y'all, I am trying to train, here! Binocular-less for this short trip, I spotted birds most clearly there on the lake, too. A male goldfinch flashed through the reeds in the afternoon sun, bluebirds tended to a nest in the pilings, and phoebes and pewees snatched up bugs and returned to the power lines or the rope along the Tree House bridge.

Sunday morning's cacophonous wake-up call included herons, wrens, chickadees, cardinals, osprey, and a woodpecker's squeaking. When the woodpecker finally moved round the tree so I could see it, I saw that it had to be a hairy woodpecker, since I didn't hear the downward trill of the similar-looking downy woodpecker. Good, that's settled, now I can look at people when they talk to me.

At a Girl Scout's Own, making eye contact with other congregants (as it were) is not required, but listening to the ceremony is. But, really, the pewees were shouting and diving about the walnut trees in the most distracting way! And surely someone else was with them -- several someones? -- none of which I could ID.

When I packed, I decided not to pull out my binoculars, knowing that the goal of my trip lay elsewhere, but, wow, what a list I could have had! As it stands, my unofficial list is made up of birds I identified by ear:

great blue heron
hairy woodpecker
eastern phoebe
eastern wood pewee
carolina chickadee
carolina wren
blue-gray gnatcatcher
eastern bluebird
wood thrush
red-eyed vireo
American crow

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Funny 'Cause It's True Files
See also, gag gifts

Smell of Books comes in New Book, Bacon, and, Eua You Have Cats. If you have ever spent time around library books, you know they do seem to hang on to odors.

Bacon -- or greasy kitchen, at least -- I have encountered many times. New Book lingers as briefly as New Car. I hope they are developing ashtray. Many of the books donated for our Friends of the Library book sale come in that flavor. Even if it's a title we really could use an additional, free, copy of, I won't send a cigarette-y book to cataloging. Yuck.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Girls and Gaming

Wired takes a look at video games for girls, and concludes that most offer "ridiculous life lessons." "The Daring Game for Girls," however, has some good stuff to offer:
Like the book, the game offers handy tips and facts as well as non-stereotypically female activities, encouraging girls to seek adventure — not boyfriends or cute clothes, for once. So, of course, no one will actually play it.

The other games they looked at surprised me - they look like the "dress-up websites," as I call them to myself, that I see girls look at. I never thought of them as games. But apparently, a having a goal of "collect[ing] 'sparkly, virtual charms" makes it a game.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Vacation Slides

Oooooh, eight carousels! We're in for a real treat!
-- Marge welcomes her sisters, laden with slides of their latest trip,
``Krusty Gets Busted''

For most of the 20th century, wags made a standing joke of vacation slides (snaps, photos, lantern slides - what you will). No one wants to see them, everyone goes on about theirs for too long, most people don't weed out the bad shots, etc., etc. While I was a curator for a photo collection, and I did write a paper once on family photo albums, I am no more eager than anyone else to watch you struggle with a screen and finding the replacement bulb so I can share in the wonders of your tip to Paris.

Yet here in the 21st century, with Facebook (and to some extent blogs or Flickr), I often click over to see more photos of botanical gardens in distant state or children I never met playing at the beach. What gives?