Great Camp Sagamore, and my Great War


In the morning, in Prozac dreams, I have known myself to go to war. The fields of battle used to move and speak to me. I knew them as my friends from when I was younger than I am now. At the end of our time together, few of them ever said goodbye. I wasn’t planning on saying anything to them, so I don’t know why it still hurt. Only that I am still a child, and a bitter one at that.

This morning is at a place in the Adirondack mountains called Great Camp Sagamore. It was where I started my college days four years ago. The wooden cabins, dining hall, and lodges on the shores of Raquette Lake are restored from their construction in the late 19th century. It was the summer home of Alfred Vanderbilt, before he drowned during the First World War on the Lusitania. His family came back on occasion, but the place began to drift back into the woods it’d been so painstakingly carved from. It was saved by the State, and now is kept protected and restored, so that anyone might stay here in the twilight home of a guided age.

But the memory of my time here needs no restoration. The bark grafted to the walls like shingles is free of rot and damp. It is an immaculately maintained memory. But there too- is the taste of salt from my old forms of warfare. I have held many grudges since I first came here. It is seeping through the bulkheads. At night, the rivets begin to loosen, and the outer hull ripples with the passing of undetected submarines.

Wisdom says you will never get your revenge, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting it. Scratches and scrapes against the bottom paint. I’m waiting for the boiler room to flood, ear against the floor where below the ice echoes like sonar into the deep. I like to imagine the reverberation of my calamity can be heard for miles around, though I am sure to those who set me here, is nothing more than the blip on the radar of a plane splashing down into the ocean, and the victor makes a token of rocking of his wings, before turning back into the sun.

We wore sneakers in the long dew-covered grass at the beginning when I first came here. Remembering my former self from those early college days is like stepping into the dawn. Like the faithful memory old mornings here at Sagamore. Step outside, and you are in it- you re filled with a strange sort of hope. This has been filling my uncertainties like caulk in a bilge for some time now.

In college, my friends and I used to lay on the stained old pool table in the basement of the dorm hall, talking of nothing, and the exact nature of that nothing has become very apparent as of late. In the years that followed, happy college days became a curdled memory and coagulated with a great deal of mutual rage.
I wish we’d known it sooner.

The sky turns a more pleasant shade of blue over the great camp, as the true morning comes on. The sky is free of planes, the lakes free of ocean liners and submarines. Only the black flies encircle my head like dive-bombers. A little reminder of the cost of the war I’ve been waging, and the strain on the economy of my being I have made to fight on when it is clear someone else has already won.



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