Yesterday morning (July 9th) Marni and four tellers- Ben, Adah, Emily and Kartik, travelled down to "Peace Camp" to share some stories with the campers there. This is Marni's account:
After an unexpected road detour on 32 S, we arrived somewhere in the foothills of the Catskills and were welcomed warmly by Samantha, a camper who, at 19, has attended Camp Medusa for years. Her mom is on staff. Later Sam showed me a banner created the first year she remembers being there - at age three. As we got to know other campers throughout the morning we heard some were first-years and others had been for all 4 of the years since Peace Camp had been initiated at Medusa.
Some of the other kids were building a fire and Paul and Katja Rehm, our Peace Camp hosts, offered us the choice of telling around the fire circle or inside the lodge. Everyone looked too sleepy to decide so I voted for outside and eventually we all felt warm. The wind (hence the smoke) kept shifting so occasionally people had to move from seat to seat to get out of the smoke or strengthening sunshine, but that didn’t seem to mess with anyone’s concentration. Our CAW tellers were relaxed and engaging, later we had all participated in a turn-to-your-partner sharing of memories in some way connected to making peace.
Thanks to Ben who with little more than one coffee started us off by traveling to Chelm and got us laughing at the chaos caused by a young couple’s fondness for apple strudel. Next came Emily whose tale of the cracked pot made us think about how we treat each other and how our “cracks” may just be what helps find our place in the world. Kartik’s story of the secret being passed cautioned us too but also helped us laugh at the wildly funny nonsense a rumor can cause. Adah closed the student tellings with her wonderful tale of finding the sparkling gem and returning it to the throne in Paradise. Later our listeners fed back images from all the tales that resonated with them or were especially vivid, and her gems and her demon chasing its tail were two highligts.
Since we had time, my dad’s version of “The Wind and the Sun” seemed just right to help us shift to life tales. While that fable shows we are strong when we shine our light in the world, I frame it as a memory. After talking briefly about the importance of deep uninterrupted listening, I set the timer and we were soon lost in a sea of talking tellers. We gave each other appreciations for images again, and then everyone shared either a snippet of story or something we’d noticed about listening or being listened to.