June 11, 2000
English Composition EN1103
Essay 2: Recall
Deep in the heart of the Maine woods, holding on for my thirteen-year-old life, my dad and I race through the trail dodging stumps, trees, and wildlife. It s a crisp morning; the forest is alive with the colors of autumn. We come across a natural spring and pull off to the side for a drink. Someone that had come here before us has left a small Chine teacup to drink from and it sits on a rock glistening in the early morning sun. As I drink, I look around and realize that I am fortunate to be able to experience this. How many people do you think know about this spring, Dad? We re one of the lucky few, Shauna. I feel a certain sense of superiority over all those who have never drank the untouched water from the Earth-made phenomenon.
Back on our four-wheeler, my dad swings onto a side trail as I hurry to situate myself in a position as to not be hurdled off. This trail is not like the others I have seen. This trail has been well kept throughout the years. Whoever has made it their job to maintain this path has put logs down side by side and covered them with dirt, making the way smooth and comfortable to ride on. When we come to the end of the path, my eyes focus on a sight right out of a fairy tale. Standing there, in the middle of a beautiful plot of land, is a very old building. Like Hantsel and Gretel, we move towards the dwelling where an evil witch is sure to reside. As we get closer, we can read a name above the door, Camp Comfort. My dad attempts to gain entrance to the camp as I survey the surrounding land. I find an old shed stocked with firewood for the upcoming cold winter. I also discover that we are now right on the river. I stand mesmerized for a few minutes as the water moves along lazily. There is a set of wooden steps leading to the river s edge and as I descend them, I m taken back by the beauty and serenity of what we have stumbled across. Everything seems so untouched and wild. I have to fight an urge to take off my shoes and splash in the unexplored water.
Rushing towards the camp s door I am startled when my dad suddenly steps out. Come in here Shauna, you ve got to see this place. Stepping through the door, I am transported to another time and way of life. The camp is lacking all of the things we consider necessities, yet it is so welcoming that I can t help but fall in love with it immediately. I walk around the small area slowly, touching and inspecting everything. I take in the sights and smells in order to experience it fully. A small wood stove is situated in the corner next to the sink with the old fashioned pump. There s a shelf above the sink with a first-aid-kit, matches and a candle on it. On two of the walls, I can see gas- powered lamps. Venturing upstairs, I find four twin -sized beds with enough blankets on them to keep someone warm even on the coldest of nights. My most prized find is what I discovered on the table next to the window. Lying there is a spiral-bound notebook with the words, Leave us a message printed simply on the top of the green cover. I flip through and read notes dating back to the late 70 s. My dad and I sit down at the table and each leave a letter in the worn book.
All at once, we hear the rumble of an approaching four-wheeler. I scurry out the door and stand cautiously next to my dad. Emerging through the trees is a man in his mid 70 s. He expertly maneuvers his machine around ours and parks next to where we re standing. He kills the engine and jumps off. Extending his hand he declares, I am Aubrey. How goes it? Talking with Aubrey, we learn that he owns this camp and is the one that takes care of the trail. I m shocked by the man s vibrancy and humored by his thick Maine accent.
My dad and I head back to the truck to load the four-wheeler up after sharing stories of the outdoors with Aubrey for over two hours. On the ride home I can not contain my excitement for having come across such a special place. Can we please go back Dad and take Mom, and Kevin, and James? My dad agrees to make another trip next weekend.
Looking back on the second trip to Camp Comfort, I can t help but feel an overwhelming sadness. My heart breaks a little when I think of the laughs, and the happiness that we shared there as a family. My parents divorced shortly after this outing. It was sudden and painful for me. My dad was everything to me. No matter what he was doing, I wanted to be right there beside him. After the divorce, I lost this closeness. The day my family was at the camp is one of the best times I can remember us having as a family. My brothers and I played taxi with four wheelers and my mom and dad played fetch with the dog. We shared a picnic lunch and talked about the beautiful place where we were spending the day. The sense of peace I felt that day is one I can not put into words. I was invincible; life could not get any better than that. Knowing what I know now, this was true; my life could not get any better than that.
Recently, my boyfriend Richard and I were out on his two four-wheelers. I decided to revisit the place that had caused me the most pleasure and the most pain. When we turned onto the trail that led to my childhood playground I was suddenly saddened. The path was no longer neatly laid but overgrown and hard to see. After battling trees and plants for sometime, we finally reached the camp; my spirits lifted when I saw that at least it was still standing. We parked and removed the screwdriver that served the purpose of locking the building. I pushed past Richard, rushing to get inside. I had to fight the tears that threatened to spill over as the memories came flooding back to me. I searched everywhere for the old notebook that would surely hold the messages we d left but to no avail. Maybe this is just as well. Reading the words etched by my father in the all upper-case manner that he has would have surely caused me enormous pain.
We went down by the river and sat in silence. Richard is no stranger to my past, so he knew what was going through my head. I could clearly see the expression I wore six years earlier when I was on top of the world. How could it have all come crashing down so quickly? No one asked me what I wanted; I was just a child. I wish I could have that day back, just once more. The day I had everything I ever wanted.
Camp Comfort is a place that is permanently embedded in my memory. No place has affected me like that small cabin deep in the Maine woods. I learned what it s supposed to feel like to be a kid, but most of all, I learned that everything changes. Camp Comfort forced me to grow up fast, and it was very tough. Somedays I sit and wish that we had never found it. Without those happy days to compare my sadness to, the divorce may have been easier on me. But I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Camp Comfort made me strong and it helped me to appreciate the little things, and I would not trade that for the world.