I think for most of us that have grown up in the Intermountain West have a special relationship with nature. We all have a place in our past that was special to us. A place that we loved visiting. A place that we can still see vividly in our mind’s eye today.
Stop and think for a minute.
Can you see it?
Maybe your eyes just closed for a minute, or, if you’re like me, your eyes relax and you focus straight through the computer screen.
But I know you see your place.
Perhaps your place was somewhere close growing up like your backyard, or a field in your neighborhood where you went exploring.
Maybe it was a little farther like a relative’s farm, a favorite park, or a lake where you could skip stones.
My place was somewhere I visited for exactly four days each summer as a boy. It is a place where I was safe. Somewhere that I could be myself and be rid of my fear. To be surrounded by people and alone with God.
My place is Twin Peaks Bible Camp nestled outside of the tiny town of Collbran in Western Colorado. The camp was run by my Great Aunt and Uncle whom I knew loved me and watched out for me. I spent six summers in a row as a camper.
Throughout the other 361 days of the year, camp was something I literally dreamt about. In my dreams I could taste the spring water coming out of the four copper pipes that served as our ever flowing fountain. I could feel myself wiping off the fine dirt of the tetherball court after tripping on the exposed aspen roots. I could hear the songs being sung and the prayers being said in the chapel. And I could smell the wonderful food that was being prepared for all our hungry mouths, three-times a day.
I don’t often think about camp as an adult, or realize what an influence it had on my life. I can see camp in my mind just as clearly today as when I would leap from my Dad’s truck and go bounding off to reunite with family and friends I hadn’t seen in a year.
While most of the names and faces have now faded from memory, the place, the setting is still there.
Over by the firewood pile, just up from the chapel, three aspens grow. On the trunk of the tree closest to the pile, are my initials, carved by an 11 year-old boy.
And 19 years later, that boy, deep inside, can revisit those trees with a smile on his face and a fond memory of a place that he so loved.