Snap, snap, snap.

This is the campground my family stayed at the most. This is the sign I walked past not too long ago when I decided it was time to relive some old memories.

Snap, snap, snap.

In this case, I’m not talking about cereal. I’m talking about something far from it: the sound of a campfire. The crackling flames are accompanied with the sounds of laughter, the smell of smoke and food, the feel of sand beneath my feet, and the taste of barbecue and s’mores. I had to think for a moment, but when I hear the soft sounds of a campfire, memories from a lifetime all come back to me, clear as the day they were forever burned into my mind.

Snap.

Hiking through forgotten sand dunes on the way to the beach with my family.
Staying up late at night around a glowing pit, making hot treats in the middle of a forest.
Helping my father row a boat through a lake even though I was hardly old enough to carry an oar by myself.

Snap.

Feeding ducks near the beach, watching as a goose terrorizes my little sister.
Making friends with every kid in the campground, riding our bikes from sunrise until sunset.
Exploring the hills by the crowded beaches, jumping over logs and sneaking through bamboo plants.

Snap.

Huddling in my father’s custom-made camping tent as the winds blew, playing cards and eating snacks.
Buying a toy from the campground’s nature center, then playing with it all weekend until it was forever forgotten after.
Getting together with the other kids to pick up trash on the beach and annoy the lifeguards.

Snap.

Packing everything away as we get ready to return home, bikes on the rack, tarps folded away.
Watching my new friends’ trailers leave the camp, my young mind not realizing I’ll never hear from them again in my life.
Saying goodbye one final time, hastily writing down a phone number I will accidentally lose forever.

Snap.

A year ago I returned to these old haunts of mine with my mother and sister. It’s been more than a decade. My grandparents and father are gone now. We no longer have our camping trailer, our boat, or even a tent. Those days have been put long behind us, falling into memory as we grew up, grew old and lost time.

I walk through the campground, looking at all the places I used to stay and explore. The dunes look smaller now; formerly mountainous labyrinths of sand in my mind, they now stand as small hills I can easily see over. The buildings are weather worn and beaten, and the lake stands empty, no animals in sight. I can almost see myself as a child, standing on the edge of the lake throwing bread, riding my bike through the maze of trailers and trucks, climbing over the sand on my way to the beach.

I walk past the old tree the campground kids and I used to use as our base. It hasn’t changed a bit. I put my hand on the trunk, remembering the feel of bark and sap from the days I used to climb high into the branches. Those days too are gone, but I still remember how to climb. I decide to give it one more go for old time’s sake.

It’s time to leave. My family and I walk back towards the room we rented to see a local play put on by The Great American Melodrama, a play my family had been seeing long before I was ever born.

As I walk, a group of children pass by on bikes, the campground’s new sentinels.

A number of ducks float slowly on the lake, glancing hopefully at the passing riders, hoping for food.

The evening fires begin to light as families congregate around the rusted pits, bringing out food and chocolate as the sun sinks behind the dunes in the west.

A new generation has taken over, and life goes on.

Snap, snap, snap.

—–

This is my post in response to the weekly writing challenge, this one about sounds and the memories that come along with them, so apologies for multiple posts in one day. I haven’t really done anything like this before, though I do like writing challenges, so I thought, hey, why not. I’ve needed to write.

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