Forces To Reckon With
First kisses and stormy nights. Tales of love and near death experiences at summer camp.
Illustrations by Sarah Lammer
If you sneak out of your cabin late at night, grab a flashlight and trek across the dense trees of the camp’s 600 acres, you can escape the confines of Camp Chi.
It takes some ingenuity, but once you wind your way through the camp, past the swimming pools and horse stables, past the painted cabins, the arts and crafts village, the dining hall and the flag post, you reach the edge of campus and a highway that will take you to the Wisconsin Dells in a few minutes. My mother tells me she snuck out her first year at the camp, but I’m not sure I believe her.
Campers are not allowed to leave. The wilderness is a terrifying place for Chicagoans, even suburban ones. The trees extend on past the horizon, and some part of us knew that nature could be cruel to those who lived in it. The power and terror of nature is inexorably tied in with my memories of my first year at camp and the promise of first love, especially after I was stuck waiting out a tornado warning with…
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