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Camp Meeker Beat - January 2015


Camp Meeker Beat - January 2015

by Tom Austin

Happy New Year! The great thing about reading that in print is it’s very quiet. If you celebrated New Year’s properly, that will be a blessing for you.

January is in many ways my favorite month. As much fun as the holidays can be, even if they went well (and most especially if they didn’t) you’re ready for a break after they run their course. January is…wait for it…blessedly quiet. There’s that fresh-start feeling for whatever you screwed up on in 2014, and nobody looks at you sideways if you just want to sit on the porch and read all day. And yeah, it gets dark early – but not as early as December! The days are already getting longer!

It’s pretty quiet on the Camp Meeker front. Pretty dark too. Can I ask what is up with the (lack of) Christmas lights? Is that too suburban of a thing for us hipsters? Call them Winter Solstice lights if you wish, or Feast of Lights lights.  Whatever you call them, they are my favorite part of Christmas, and I’m kind of a Scrooge. What’s that you say? Where are MY lights, if I’m so all-fired het up for a light show? That’s a great question. I’m glad you asked that question. Next question, please!

In addition to being dark, Camp Meeker is also quiet in December – not a lot of Board activity. However, I am happy to report that we have a new Board member, filling in for Jeff Rusch, who is focusing on other things.   Ex-postmaster Valery Larson will be bringing her smile and positive attitude to the Board, joining Cathie and Gary and Lynn in taking care of Camp Meeker’s business. Welcome and bon voyage, Valery!

Last month I got off on a bit of a tangent about forests. There’s a reason we are drawn to them. They are a huge part of our collective consciousness, a major archetype. Last month I mentioned a few of the grownup stories centered in forests, and while that’s a fun list the real gold is in children’s stories. What are good forest stories for Camp Meeker’s children (and inner children)?

Gosh, where do I start? Is there a Grimm’s Fairy Tale that DOESN’T involve the hero going into the forest? Where does Sleeping Beauty fall asleep?   When the seven dwarves hi ho hi ho off to work, where is it they go to?    Need I mention through what sort of geography Little Red Riding Hood must traverse to visit her grandmother? Yes. I need to.

Are we done? Not even close. When King Max goes Where the Wild Things Are, where is it that he goes? When Hansel and Gretel try their ill-fated bread crumb trick, where is it they end up lost, nibbling on gingerbread eves and gum drop door jams in between stuffing witches into ovens?

Yep. The Forest. It all comes back to the forest. It’s where Rumpelstiltskin hung when he wasn’t conning damsels. The one in Nottingham is where Robin Hood and his Merry Men went to escape the Sheriff (from what I’m told, a few Camp Meekerites have done that on occasion as well).     Perhaps in homage to Robert Frost’s yellow wood, L. Frank Baum put a yellow brick road through the forest to guide Dorothy and Toto on their way. Just outside Hogwarts, Harry Potter and his fellow Gryffindorians are warned about, yes, the Forbidden Forest. And to put the cherry on top of the proverbial sundae, what is the latest big Disney holiday extravaganza movie? Yep, you guessed it, “Into the Woods”.

That’s right, a forest is a magical place. To most people, apparently, it is a scary place full of danger. And yet we choose to live there. What does that make us? Witches? Elves? Fairies? Gnomes? Ogres? Trolls? I mean we must be, right? Okay, so we understand each other. Let’s just keep our story straight: the forest is a scary, scary place to be. You wouldn’t want to go there.

More forest for us!