Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, is finally here, and while that may not feel like something to celebrate, it signifies rounding a corner. We are summiting a peak that allows us to see the end of 2022, and in the distance far below, the longest, sunniest days ahead. Belgrade Lakes will see daylight nearly double in time between now and peak camp season in mid-July. Sunrises will fall from past 7:00 am to before 5:00, and sunsets will grow their patience from 4:00 pm to wait until nearly 9:00 instead. Our own patience is instead probably growing thin – for me, I know that the year changing its last number each January 1st creates a certain eagerness for the camp season to follow.
While we wait steadily in the shortest days, my gratitude for the longest ones grows – and I think of all that we do with our extra hours of sunshine at camp. The Runoia community is an opportunistic one – we know that flat water brings the best skiing, a bit of wind the best sailing, and even the worst of weather brings broom-ball and quality time with our shack-mates. So it follows that Runoia campers and staff are experts at making the most of what they are given and showing gratitude all the while. Here are a few ways that we make the most of our longest days and greatest amount of sunshine in the summer:
An early sunrise means…
- Staff waking up before their campers to ‘fill their cups’ – with walks with friends, runs, morning paddles
- Waking up at 7:30 is easier when you’re greeted by the sun
- We’re ready for our day nice and early, and we can fit in that much more activity time and time with each other
- Dry grass to eat our Sunday donuts on
- The chance to swim to Oak Island and back before the wind picks up
- Light for morning barn chores and time with the horses
A late sunset means…
- Light for the best EPs (counselor hunt would be a bit more difficult in the dark)
- Post-dinner cartwheels on the grass
- Just a few more minutes laying on the grass with your shack-mates before bed
- The occasional post-dinner beach party on the hottest days
- Staff enjoying a few more hours of sunshine on their nights off
In this season of gratitude, I am grateful for the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year – knowing that memories and hopes of the longest ones at camp will last me until the next time around. We are so appreciative toward our earth and the sunlight that allows our camp days to be just as they are, without missing a thing – and some days we still go to bed wishing there was just a little bit more time together.