Rand-om Thoughts

The poems in this series are meant to be thought-provoking and deal with some of the more serious issues at camp. My Path to the Arrow is a little different. Jeff wrote it in the hayday of the Cag and it was his effort to explain what the arrow meant to him and the hundreds of other candidates who had seen it. Although it was never published, the Arrow remains the trademark of Mahican Chapter Ceremonies

I am Winter Camp.
(Donohue, from an idea by Rand)
When the weather’s mild or the sky is wild
When the air doth freeze or blow a mighty breeze
I go on.
I am Winter Camp.

When you get weary and your sight is bleary
When you might quit or not give a shit
I go on.
I am Winter Camp.

When you’re feeling dumb and do not come
When your family cries and says "Again with the guys?"
I go on.
I am Winter Camp.

When the fees get high and you’re scraping by,
When you’ve become wealthy and choose to stay healthy
I go on.
I am Winter Camp.

When you’ve moved far away and feel too old to play
When the new life you chose on your time does impose
I go on.
I am Winter Camp.

When the last car is packed and you’re leaving intact
When your lying asleep into your dreams I creep.
I go on.
I am Winter Camp.

My Path to the Arrow
(Rand)
The sun had just melted into a cool evening;
A mist lay upon the hills of the ranch.
I, with my fellows, had gathered for a journey,
an adventure which would change our future.
We stood there, at the entrance to the trail,
eagerly anticipating what lay ahead.
It was getting darker, but the torch bearers approached
and shined the way for us to proceed.
While keeping our silence, they directed and led us forward.
We were uncertain of our destination,
but knew it must be a special place.
Our feet found the ground to start the trail;
I looked cautiously into the darkness of the shadows
and felt the growing bond amongst my fellows.

We moved in a straight path across the dam,
where the moonlight bleached the waters of the lake.
The trail climbed now with increasing pitch.
My thoughts turned inward in this quiet stillness:
I though of my early days in Scouting,
what it meant to hick and camp with my troop.
I knew that these had been good experiences for my youth
but something had set me apart from my fellows.
For my fellow Scouts had elected me to this band.
I reminisced about the days of summer;
approaching the hilltop, I remembered my camp adventures
and the sense of wonder that they brought.
My Scouting record flashed within my mind --
Was I worthy of this honor that had been bestowed upon me?
Had I lived by the principles of the Oath and Law?
My record of this past Ordeal I reviewed:
Had I been true to the ban of silence?
As I camped alone last night was I self-reliant?
Did I work willingly for the sake of others?

I followed close my guides;
Kitchkinet, my friend, he knew the way;
he lit the path and I followed.
We moved down the hill and the air grew still.
The sky was pitch, pierced only by the light of our torches.
Was I truly ready for what lay ahead?
The mysteries of it teased my very consciousness.
The Order of the Arrow, what was it?
What of it would I see tonight?
We climbed and came up another hill;
the minutes passed, more quickly now.
A wisp of wind clutched my pale face;
a flutter in my heart gave cause for deeper thoughts,
inward thoughts, thoughts of self, thoughts of others.
Oh Kitchkinet, you know the way; lead me forward;
Help me find the Arrow.

When my thoughts were deep and the bond, profound,
we approached the ridge of earth
that separates the trail and field.
My eyes, they moved from the path ahead
to the sight grand below.
I gazed upon, in full splendor, the arrow,
the arrow straight and true.
Immense its measure, as long as a playing field of men,
hundreds of feet it stretched through the darkness.
The light shone bright as a spirit beacon;
the spirit that filled me with awe and wonder.
My friend, my guide, Kitchkinet we’re here;
we have found the Arrow.

Ahoalton
(Donohue)

Once I was asked "Why do they have to come?"
"They’re not really members, and they are troublesome"
I readied a quip, a quick scathing retort
But I realized that it would the truth distort.

I settled my temper and took a deep breath
For I knew they’d come, nye on to death.
"They come for the memories both theirs and mine,
they come because once this camp was their time

We came the first years just to have fun,
it took more than a decade to do what’s been done
by then we had friendships built on love and trust"
I paused for a moment, I could see his disgust

"I know what you’re thinking ‘You can’t love a man’
but if you believe that, then you’ve missed the whole plan.
Sure we have equipment and games and traditions
but those aren’t the real camp, or part of it’s mission

Winter Camp exists for one purpose alone,
to give every Arrowman’s dreams a fine home.
If our Admonition you can truly accept
that Winter Camp’s fire is where your dream is kept.

For camp’s not a place or a big pile of gear
it’s not even the things that we do every year,
‘Why do they have to come? Why do they belong here?’
You call it a question I call it a jeer.

They’re here for the right things, to laugh and to share
To give us all a chance at a thing that’s quite rare.
How often do we get to be just who we are?
No matter how stupid, average, or bizarre?

They’re here for the magic, the people they love
they’re here for a taste of what life’s like above.
If you pause to listen, to hear what they feel,
you’ll know that the magic of Winter Camp’s real.

The Vigil
(Donohue)

No football playing buddies, no homecoming dance
so busy with Scouting I hadn’t a chance.
Sometimes I look back with a twinge of regret
and wonder about some high school brunette.

When I was a youth in our honored Order,
we offered no mercy, extended no quarter
The only excuse for your absence was death
miss only if you had breathed your last breath.

So this was my High School, my family too
it’s hard to believe, but I promise you true.
So much to do and so much to learn
if someday you hoped to your vigil earn.

It wasn’t my purpose, it wasn’t my goal
but when I received it, it lightened my soul.
It wasn’t the sash or some bragging right,
The Vigil to me is like being a Knight.

"A marked man" I was, when I received Eagle,
Yet receiving the vigil was for me much more regal.
For eagle the standards are there in the book,
they’re there for the doing, just a look

But Vigil is harder and there is no line ----—
No list of requirements, no "I’ve done my time"
The Vigil’s a mark of your peer’s respect,
given when you have done all they expect.

Now I am much older, yet I’m still around
My head in the clouds but my feet on the ground
I’m here ‘cause I love it, I’m here ‘cause I care
I’m here ‘cause I think I’ve something to share.

There’s more to your life than being well liked,
even things more important than that babe in Psych.
So if you’d like a path of optimum bliss
Don’t be afraid to be of service.

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