The Jumonville grounds echo the sounds of a full summer; when you walk outside, you can almost hear the echoes of the kids laughing and the staff shouting out important safety rules, then explaining that every last one of them is a beautiful, unrepeatable miracle, or BUM.
The staff cabins, Andrew and Martha, are now filled with empty beds. I think I miss my room being a disaster area, because when it was a disaster area, it was also filled with friends. The common area once looked like a hurricane came through it. Now it looks abandoned and empty.
The dining hall, once cramped from squeezing fourteen staff members at one 8-place table, now comfortably seated the eight who remained at lunch. Then Tyler’s parents came to pick her up, and there were only seven. Kelly and Caitlin left without saying goodbye, and Caitlin M. is leaving at dinner.
The office is distinctly quiet, so much so that Ree had turned on a television for noise. The challenge course and the tower, yesterday (and even this morning) filled with screaming kids, are now empty and lonely.
True, through Jumonville’s autumn and winter there will be groups who come up to visit, and the forest, the dining hall, and the cabins will once again ring with childrens’ voices – though only for a little while. In the meantime, Ree and the very mountain of Jumonville will long for the coming summer and spring.
When the ground finally shakes off its fluffy white coat, and the green grass makes its bold appearance. When buses from the Laurel Highlands Outdoor School once again struggle up to the mountaintop and through the entryway, and Jumonville will once again be filled with the sounds of squealing bus brakes and squealing children.
There will be another group of summer staff, who will become a body, a church, and a family of friends. Nate and Ree will teach them about love languages, team building, behavior quadrants, and everything else they need to know.
And Ree will tell them that they are BUMs.
There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every event under heaven…
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
~Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4