Every time I feel the summer coming, I can't help but fly back to 2011, when I worked at a summer camp for the season. Those 10 weeks at camp were probably the hardest moments I've had in my life––working with horses, children, and adults with disabilities is definitely not an easy job! But those 10 weeks have also been the most nourishing weeks I've ever had, and I would definitely not be who I am today if I hadn't lived them.
Not only I learned to teach young, inexperienced riders how to ride, and even jump their first fences, but I also learned some basics of horseback riding for persons with disabilities. I learned about myself and about God––even if I tried very hard not to be influenced by the religious atmosphere of the camp. I learned about love, about giving to others, and about friendship.
I sometimes regret not staying in closer contact with the people I met at camp. I guess I could still write to them and maybe even schedule a Skype meeting––and I might probably do so, before more time flies away without staying in touch with them––but I regret I haven't had the chance to talk more in the past few years with all these wonderful people.
But at least I know all the memories I collected with them will be forever in my heart. All the beautiful Maine landscapes. The sunrises and sunsets, the beach, the morning sound of the waves hitting the land. Fireflies on the way to the horsefield at night. The Sisterhood, Pants and Liz. Our mother Betty. An unpronounceable name reduced to PJ. Storytelling in the woods. The semi-savage, bipolar horses, the kids that rode them, and Sue's "I did it" every time she hopped on a horse. Crazy people. Midsummer fest. Fairy lights. Escaping to Boston and chilling on a rooftop. Feeling like Portland is the biggest city on Earth. Tie-dye. Wishing for beer, eating the biggest pad thai to ever exist, and playing with miniature sand. Wednesday Barbecue. Arts and crafts, baby showers. Ice cream. Running in the rain back to camp from Old Orchard Beach. Being left by the train, running to Saco, and being left again. Getting our nails done. Irish fairy dust. Irish people always have their feet cold. Piano man. Lilies and broken lilies...
...I just realised I could go on forever, but I guess I'll leave it here. Here's to you, beautiful Oceanwood, to your children, to a place I know I can call home, and to all the friends I made there! I hope I can visit you again soon!
Photography: Laura Beltran-Rubio – Natalie Souness