Posted by: jmdenham | June 18, 2011

The Sounds of Summer #1

I heard on NPR yesterday a series on the sounds of summer.  I was so intrigued because summer for me is so special- my favorite season in fact and no less so because my birthday usually comes around in the summer!

One particular memory that emerges for me now: Camp Star Trails.  As the Lifeline interns prepare to go to Camp Star Trails this week, I am struck by how that has been a constant piece of my summer for 6 years.  Unfortunately I cannot go this year.  But it is good stuff.  The sounds from this camp are so precious.  The sounds of “500 miles” (song) and “Birthday Cake” (song) as well as the shuffling of hundreds of dancing feet as morning aerobics played loudly on speakers every breakfast.  Being a fool, dancing like a fool, and being a kid again- priceless.  The sounds of wrestling around the cabins with the kids as I body slam and get tackled.  The sounds of water balloon fights between Cabin 17 and Cabin 18, letting kids laugh like never before.  The sounds of kids playing in the pool, splashing each other, throwing water balls at each other, boys and girls trying to impress one another and hear the latest news on who likes who.  Special sounds.  The sounds of boys talking and pretend farting all night long because they are too giddy to go to sleep.  The sounds of tired and exhausted adults telling the kids to go to sleep.  And the sounds of weepy and tearing adults, surrounding these sick kids and their precious siblings, and saying goodbye and thanks for the memories and the opportunity to love, laugh, and care.  Those are the sounds of tears of joy, tears that reflect an experience of great relationships that end and force us to line the drive as the kids leave in busses as we scream goodbye with noisy cascade of balloons giving visual voice to our gratitude.  This is a sound of summer that I love.  It is a summer sound of friendship, and one that changed my life as I move towards pediatric chaplaincy and finding my love for being a kid.  Precious sounds.

But even as I talk about those sounds of summer, I realize that there are some other sounds of summer that are deeply precious to me.  One I will share is that of drive in movies.  Oh, the sounds of family sitting together, with the popping and almost rhythmic crunching of popcorn in me and my brothers mouths, the hand held speaker sitting close to the back of the truck.   My family didn’t see a whole lot of drive in movie but I always remember them in the summer.  The sounds of excitement as we pulled in and looked for just the right spot- while I could hear the patter of feet making their way to vendors and food courts.  It was a sound of adventure, of newness, of excitement.  It was a beautiful sound- it is a sound I look back on and feel ashamed I was so excited over this or that movie- but it was a sound that carried a love of life and being around people.

I look forward to sharing more sounds and stories of summer as I hear the memories again!

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