When I was a childhood camper here, all those years ago, I loved mail call. There is a large V-shaped area of grass beneath the flagpole out in front of the dining hall/lodge (which also holds the kitchen where I now cook). We stood there as campers, daily awaiting our post. We formed our group of 200 into a U shape, mimicking the plot of grass. We stood in 103 degree heat, sweating from a tennis lesson, or dripping from a swim session at the lake or pool. We stood feeling as if the Texas heat would kill us, but somehow thriving beneath it. We paused from activity to hear our name, to relish that someone who knew us before we came to this place remembered us still. We stood waiting to see what they had to say about life on the outside, though we could not yet tell them all about life on the inside - and weren't quite ready to reenter where they were .
We stood not knowing that we would have to withdraw from this place and look back at it to see how much it held.
This morning I walked to the front office and checked my staff mailbox. There was a snail mail letter from my dear, dear Ruth. I walked out into the sun and shuffled along the gravel toward the dining hall as I tore the top seam of the envelope. I stood in my black apron upon the same grass where I stood as a childhood camper and read the words her heart had penned for me. I stood reading her thoughts, simultaneously hearing her voice as she shared life from the outside world. I could not reply, it was not yet time for me to share.
I can not yet look back at this time; I do not yet know all of what it has held for us.