Around the Campfire

Message From The Director

One of the best parts of camping, whether it is August or January, is sitting around the campfire.  From scout trips to family and work campouts, many of my best camping memories come from the times we were able to end our days sitting around a fire, eating, laughing, or just relaxing.  As a dad, I used to love playing “and then” with the boys, or any group of young (or young-at-heart) campers.  Someone would begin a story, then dramatically say, “and then…” to cue the person to their right to pick up where they left off. As the story made its way around the campfire, its twists and turns would produce hysterically unpredictable storylines that, for a period of time, always included naked mole-rats. Fond memories for me.

While sitting around a campfire recently with some park friends, we took turns asking some of the usual conversation starters.  Where would you vacation if time and money weren't an object? What was the best trip you ever took?  A ranger named Jacob asked one I had never heard before:  if you could go backwards or forwards in time but couldn’t come back, when and where would you go?  Conversations ensued about whether or not we would have the benefit of hindsight, and if so, how to use it to our advantage. Maybe we could go back just far enough to play the system in some kind of gambling or investment scheme.  If we went too far back, would we even have the skills to survive?  Or for that matter, without A/C and modern hygiene, would we want to be there?  How about the future? Could we jump ahead so far that we wouldn’t be able to learn or keep up with the technology and advances we had missed?  These were serious issues.

Well, after much reflection, I finally have my answer.  Although not nearly as dramatic or exciting as a big jump backwards or forwards in time might sound, my answer is that I would stay right there.  Sitting around the campfire that night, like so many other nights before, I was happy.  I wasn’t worried about what had happened earlier in the week or concerned with what was to come.  I was content to be there, sitting among friends on the shores of Lake Hartwell, laughing and relaxed and full from eating cobbler cooked over the fire. Right then and there is where I would choose to be.

A well-known Maya Angelou quote reads: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  The details of conversations from that night may already have slipped a little from my mind.  The food we cooked and shared, though delicious, doesn’t linger on my taste buds.  But I remember the feeling, the joy and happiness from that night, and I am already looking forward to my next campfire.