Beneath the Pine Trees

Well, once I got started yesterday thinking about summer camp, I couldn’t quit. I’m still thinking about it. It’s July—I should be at camp! Forget this grown-up, nine-to-five office job stuff. (Plus it’s not really nine to five…it’s more like six-fifteen to six o’clock if you include the commute. (…Why do I do this every day, again? Oh, right. The paycheck.)) I’d rather be looking at the mountain view from the rock quarry than at the office parking lot…

Every year I’d fervently look forward to the start of the camp season. When I’d finally arrive, and step out of the car, and breathe in the camp air, heavy with the scent of pine trees, I’d always feel like I’d come home.The pine smell is everywhere at camp. Actually, the camp ground was full of different scents. The dining hall always carried a faint aroma of bread baking. We could anticipate the end of the daily hike to the swimming pool long before the end of the trail, just from the scent of chlorine. The stables always reeked of horses; the lake, vaguely of algae. Once a week we would cook outside, filling the air with the scent of campfire smoke. The arts-and-crafts cabin had a whiff of paint inside. And pine. No matter what else, there was always the scent of pine, blending with whatever other scent was in the air. The smell of pine always takes me back home, even now.

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