Twenty years ago when we moved into this house there were a lot of DIY projects that needed accomplishing. Painting the downstairs bathroom was not high on the list of priorities. In order to brighten the place up a little we started adding the hand-prints of our visitors. The parameters were basic: pick your colors, pick your spot, paint your hand and print it on the wall then add your name and date your print. The hand-prints themselves started out simple, often with just one color and expanded to more elaborate creations that reflected the personality of their owner. There are now a couple of hundred of prints representing friends from all aspects of life, a large percentage of whom I know through camp.
The hand-prints are a regular reminder of the people that have touched my life. Some of the folk are still regular visitors, or perhaps sadly now deceased, still others were only around for a short time and we have now lost touch. They all generate memories of a time and place when we were connected, a shared history and an impression left in my life. There are many old Camp Runoia friends, campers and staff that passed through for a summer or two or who it feels like I have known for a lifetime. They hold a space in time that is a reminder not just of them but also of a particular summer on Great Pond. The dates are helpful in remembering just how long ago it was that they were at camp and how quickly time flies.
At Runoia the names in the boathouse are a similar memorial to those that have passed through at some previous point in time. They remind us of people we know and also trigger thoughts about those whose story is now a mystery lost in time. The faces may be long forgotten but their names are painted in bright colors to remind us that they were here and are part of the rich fabric of our camp community.
The hand-prints on my wall definitely reflect the hand-prints left on my heart. This will be my 23rd summer at Camp Runoia in Belgrade Lakes, Maine and I hope to add a few more hand-prints to my bathroom wall and a lot more to my heart.