July 24 Teachers Write Quick Write: Write a story to tell around the campfire
This spring I did a poetry study of Dark Emperor and in my research I found a poem by Wendell Berry titled: To Know the Dark. It was suggested that to really know the dark you have to be out at night in the dark with no flashlight at all. So I challenged my students to do that this summer...
"I spent a summer when I was 18 as a camp counselor in charge of a group of little girls. All summer long the other counselors had been spooking each other with stories of 'Scarface' allegedly lurking around the cabins at night. Reportedly there had been sightings of him. One night during the week we were to take our small groups and camp in the woods with just our sleeping bags on the hard ground and sleep under the stars. We roasted marshmallows, made s'mores, sang a few songs putting off the inevitability of going to sleep. We had to put the leftover ingredients in crates so the raccoons wouldn't get them. Once the campfire had gone out it was very, very dark. One by one the girls drifted off to sleep and I was in charge. Gradually the woods became alive with all kinds of nocturnal noises. Could it be Scarface? I was terrified and even more so because I was in charge. All night long there was a scuffling sound as the raccoons tried to get into those crates. As a city girl I was almost as afraid of those raccoons as I was of Scarface. I forced myself to get up and try to shoo them away. There was not too much sleep to be had, and when I got up in the morning I felt like I had dirt in my teeth from sleeping on the ground. For better or worse we were still alive and headed back to camp for the new day."
That is what I want you to do this summer. Go out in the dark without a flashlight. Lay on the ground and look at the stars and just listen for awhile. Then you will have a campfire story of being out in the dark without a light and be able to tell others what happens outside at night.