We have this saying at Surprise Lake Camp that a rainy day here is better than a sunny day anywhere else. I woke up this morning at 6:00 am to the sounds of wind rushing through the trees and water pounding on my roof. At first I wasn’t sure why I woke up at such an obscenely early hour – obscenely early for camp anyways. (In the outside world I’m up with the sun.) My body and brain still wanted the hour and a half they had left until they had to be awake, yet here I was, eyes open, mind alert, sitting up in bed.
It was the noise.
I live in Boston when I don’t live in Cold Spring, and while we certainly have noises there related to weather (the most interesting of which is the silence of snow), there’s nothing like waking up to a storm in camp. I got out of bed and stepped outside into my doorway. The trees were trying to rip their roots from the ground, reaching and stretching across the air for each others’ limbs. The woods were creaking, banging, swirling around me. The wind was rushing through the wind tunnels created by the hills. The water was slamming into roofs, rocks, dirt immediately around me. I could hear the rain on the lake even though I couldn’t see it from my vantage point. It’s not a soft pitter-patter like squeezing a sponge into a pot of water. It’s not like pouring a bucket of water into a puddle. It’s more like a million little voices whispering angrily but still trying keep their anger secret.
I got back into bed and continued listening to the storm. Although it was still raining fairly hard, it was starting to let up a bit by the time I went down to breakfast. Campers were coming down to breakfast holding hands with their counselors, all of them decked out in bright rubber rain jackets and boots. Some jumped in puddles. Some tip-toed around them. Some screeched with laughter and ran giggling when someone splashed them. I heard talk of mud sliding and rainy day activities and kids asking if they could still go swimming even if it was raining.
“As long as there’s no thunder and lightning,” I heard a counselor assure.
Only in camp, I thought, as I made my way into the dining hall on what promised to be a wonderful day.