Seasons of the Sun
Though officially it is still summertime until September 22, here in Rehoboth Beach it already feels like fall—if not necessarily in temperatures, then in an attitude shift. Now that Labor Day weekend is past, the crowds of daily visitors thin down, locals return downtown in larger numbers, and seasonal renters give up their houses until it’s time to start all over again next Memorial Day weekend.
For most of the time that I have lived at the beach, this is the best weather of the year: clear blue skies, perfect temperatures, and the light is magic. As we come up on the anniversary of 9-11, I’m always reminded of how perfect the sky was that day and how out of place and unbelievable those smoking towers looked against it.
This time of year is always slightly bittersweet; even as we rejoice in the glorious end-of-summer weather, we know that it is fleeting. I try to capture the essence of the magic light around us, but it too is ephemeral, and neither the brush nor the camera can quite do it justice. The same seems to hold true for the most important events of our lives, as well, and that thought crossed my mind during this year’s Sundance. We spend a week on-site at the Convention Center creating and assembling the elaborate space and structure that is Sundance. Then it all comes down in a day.
Altogether we shoot millions of photos a day, and in some way each one gives us a fragment of the world around us. It is the rare shot, indeed, a work of art, that can capture and hold the true essence of light, or a perfect day, or the precise emotions that exist in our relationships and encounters with one another.
Life is fleeting, isn’t it? All of art exists as an attempt to hold fast to one moment in time, be it stark reality or the abstract expression of an idea or an emotion.
Summertime has always been an especially fleeting time of year. As children we all loved that long break from school, and the feeling that “summer vacation” would last forever. It never did, of course! Now we live in a summer beach community and our town’s business is centered upon creating an endless summer for as long as is possible.
Over the years the summers all run together a bit, but each one has its own characteristics and memories. “Oh yes,” we say, “that was the summer it rained every weekend,” or “the summer of the first Sundance.” We remember them in the lives and deaths of our loved ones; we remember them in the parties and events that marked the passage of time; we remember them by the changes in our lives and our community. “That was the year they built the traffic circle. That was the year the Blue Moon opened.” And yes, we agree, “that was year of the gay bashing on the Boardwalk.”
What will we remember about the summer of 2013? The beginning of gay marriage in Delaware and the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA will always make 2013 a historic year for us. Sundance was a circus. Cloud 9 sat empty all summer. Drag Volleyball was rained out. Christopher Peterson starred in La Cage Aux Folles. The Sundance t-shirts weren’t white. There was no city election.
As always, we lost friends: Kate Lavelle, Marion McGrath, Joel Pearson (to name a few), and a pivotal figure in our town’s culinary history, Chef Leo Medisch of The Back Porch Café.
On a personal side, my dad passed away, and, oh yeah…Steve and I are getting married. That still seems weird to me to say, I have to admit. It is, after all, the 35th year of what has always felt like a marriage to us. My mom, by the way, has given me my dad’s wedding ring for the wedding. I love that! It makes me feel like the summer has come full circle. My dad would love it too, I’m quite sure!
Here at CAMP Rehoboth, we head into the fall season with another summer under our belts. I joke every May when we begin publishing Letters every two weeks that we are going underwater for four months. Once this issue is safely in the hands of the printer, we will get our first break of the summer, and life will return to a more normal pace.
Steve and I are deeply grateful to everyone who has worked this season to make it a great summer for CAMP Rehoboth and our community. We have the best volunteers in the world, and we are always dazzled by the commitment they bring to whatever job there is to be done. Our sponsors and members are equally dazzling, and nothing could happen without the financial support they give to our organization. Just this summer, our donors, supporters, and volunteers have made possible: The Black and White Beach Ball; CAMP Rehoboth Golf Tournament; the 6 Futcher Pool Party; Bachelor Auction 2013 at Aqua; Abbamania; Sundance Land and Sea; Sundance Weekend (Auction and Dance); the CAMP Chorus, and much more—including the daily operations of the CAMP Courtyard and CAMP Rehoboth Community Center.
We may be “the heart of the community” but the soul comes from all who pitch in to make “summer CAMP” an unforgettable experience.
For the best example I know of why things work for us here at CAMP Rehoboth, just take a minute to look at the Sundance Sponsor, Supporter, Host, volunteer and auction donor lists on pages 8-10, or the membership list on pages 32-33 of this issue. There are hundreds of names on those lists. All I can say is “thank you!”
One more word of thanks: the members of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth are all actively involved in the work we do here at CAMP Rehoboth, and I am always grateful for their creative and passionate support and leadership in our organization.
Though the song itself is about dying (not entirely inappropriate as we head into the fall season), I am reminded of the old 70s tune “Seasons of the Sun.” And yes, I am taking this line out of context: “We had joy we had fun we had seasons in the sun…”
Here’s to summer 2013!
Murray Archibald, CAMP Co-founder and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth, is an artist in Rehoboth Beach. Art by Houston Llew at Ward Ellinger Gallery.