At this morning’s collection, one of our staff members (who is also a former camper, as so many staff are) spoke about her vision of collection as a fire. In this metaphor, we feed the fire and it burns throughout camp. At the end of camp, we each take embers home in our “little clay pots,” as she described it, and keep them safe and glowing until the next summer when we can bring them all together again, to create a new fire. The next summer’s fire is different, yet it has pieces of the previous fire in it, reaching all the way back to the earliest days of FMC.
I loved this vision and this metaphor. This led me to think in turn about the literal celebratory bonfire we have midway through camp, and how we could see that as the manifestation of the metaphorical one. I’ve never been at a bonfire where everyone around wasn’t fascinated with watching or poking the fire, feeding it new fuel, or focused on soaking up its heat. Really, we do all these things with our silent collection time too — observing it, seeing what it’s all about, trying to understand the shifting light shining out of it, or simply absorbing its warmth and force.
It is almost time to pack up our embers for another year, but I hope we will feel the anticipation of bringing them back together next summer.