Outside of a small town in Virginia, near the Shenandoah river, up
a hill lay a camp. This camp was used for a scouting group’s yearly
events. There sits on the Northern point of the camp an old wooden fire
These lockers housed tools for helping extinguish fires. Often, you
could find axes, pails, flame blankets in these lockers. This camp
having been long ago abandoned had none of these in its fire locker.
Nothing was in this locker. It got converted into a target bin for
slingshot, bow, steel shot air rifle. The target stood until once it got
pulverized with explosives on an arrow.
Aside from that day’s ear shattering explosion, the camp was a quiet
harbor in the woods. Deer would come to bed down here. A snake den lay
in the Eastern end of the camp.
The snake den was under a rock outcropping which cascaded over a drop of
twenty foot. A trail ran by the rock, leading down to a gully. The gully
was used more often than not as a bit of a natural hunting blind.
Game would cross below the gully. A trail ran below it about thirty
yards. This trail led down around the hill and crossed over to the
The gully is a sacred place from memory. A first kill taken here. The
lesson of life being sacred taught here, in the quiet rustle of dry
leaves as a deer bled out.
Nothing left to waste by a grandfather overseeing a grandson and a son.
An uncle explaining how broad-head arrows were supposed to function.
Gentle laughter from all three in realizing plans do not always carry
themselves out as planned.
Deer hide stretched between two long sticks forming a liter to haul
venison down the hill. After reaching home the hide was sent to a family
friend who crafted leather goods. The friend offered a few dollars for
the hide and grandfather set it aside to pay for fishing license.
Memory bringing smiles despite this past year sending a grandfather on
his way. The uncle, his son, took a view that grandfather had gone on
ahead to find us a good spot along the eternal river to fish. A grandson
finally understanding he knew his grandfather more than he thought.
In that scouting camp, many lessons were taught without being spoken. So it is a sanctuary. The scouting camp where a young boy exploded a fire locker, the scout camp where mortality left no doubts. Here in the camp sits the scout.