Reminiscences from Camp Joy Apprentice Kyla Huxley, 2014

Camp Joy in Boulder Creek in California is a refuge, a home, a speck on a map, a chilly breeze, a summer sky, a valley under the redwoods, a garden. Camp Joy is a light fragrance of a delicate pink rose, a smudge of dirt on a sunburned nose, an armful of carrots clumped with earth, and a wheelbarrow heaped with overripe plums.

Its inhabitants include noisy goats, hardworking apprentices, and running, screaming, barefoot children. If you get up at dawn, the garden sparkles with dewdrops, on leaves and clinging to sticky spiderwebs. The gray light illuminates the bounty awaiting harvest that day, and the birdsong occasionally breaks the pristine silence. As the bright yellow sun peeks through the prickly redwood branches to the east, the undersides of the slightly translucent, pale green blades of grass shine with the warming glow that envelops the valley.

Shortly after, the dogs yawn and stretch their fuzzy backs, then bark at the door to be let out so they can chase the groggy squirrels. Their owners rise slowly, pulling on Tshirts and jeans, or overalls, or shorts, or other farm-friendly attire, and combing their fingers through their hair. These farmers crunch up the narrow garden paths, or the gravel driveway, traversing from their various cabins to the main house. “Hello’s” are cheerily exchanged, eggs and toast and greens fried up in a matter of minutes, black coffee sipped at the long wooden dining table with breakfasts and friendly chatter, as the farmers prepare to head out.

As the heat sets in, they finish their morning’s work and when they hear the conch shell call, they trudge up the stick-covered path for lunch, and after a big, farm-fresh meal, they return eagerly to their tending of the earth.

When the sun sinks low to the west, the sky turns gray once again, the air loses its ninety degree weight, the chill sets in, and the flower petals shut tightly closed in preparation for the night. The farmers wrap up their day’s work and return to the Big House. They eat a small dinner, gossip, chat, and laugh in the kitchen, then creep slowly, one by one, through the now pitch black night.

After the sun sinks below the crest of redwoods, the garden sleeps under the watchful eye of the moon. The garden waits, resting, for the moon to retire her silvery eye, and for the sun to bask his warm glow over the tiny valley again, awakening the vivid colors the next day.

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