Sea-Glass Window into Kirby Cove by Hazel Fry

I gaze out the car window at the trees shaped like witches hats, cloaked by a comforting fog. The path is narrow and bumpy, a windy dirt snake carrying my mom, Tiffany and I to the campsite where all of creative writing is to spend the night. The first “hellos” are never awkward the way they are with most groups of people. It’s the beginning of the year, and here we are inhaling the ripe air of creative writing tradition – the familiar smell of campfire, tree roots, and warm veggie burgers. I grab two bags of Sun chips and scarf them down as I absorb the specific kind of serenity you only feel with dusty pebbles between your toes and bundles of sleeping bags surrounding you. 

All the creative writers rush to greet each other, anticipating the many hours we will spend getting to know the new fresh peeps and discovering things about each other we never expected to learn. It’s strange how openness comes in waves. It comes in the kind of ocean waves that we push the freshies into on the beach, laughing as their cheeks drip with freezing sea water. It’s a tradition, okay? Openness comes in the waves of safety versus discomfort, and my department floats on the very tip of the safest wave. As the sand falls asleep beneath my toenails and my goosebump covered arms are locked with people next to me, I am washed by a wave better than the ocean: the comfort of knowing I have people who will look out for me and who I can look out for too. This is Kirby Cove.

Of course it isn’t perfect. There’s a tick in someone’s shoe that I scoop out with a leaf, a dead and stinky seal on the beach, and scrapes on my elbows from bumping into rocks and sticks in the dark. The thing is, I wouldn’t want to smell a dead seal with any other group of people. When it gets late and the black sky engulfs our faces into darkness, all of us from freshmen and sophomores to juniors and seniors gather together. We are so used to fiction, the way it feels to let ink spell out the billions of made up stories in our heads and read them to each other; we are familiar with that kind of bravery. But we leave our fiction in the classroom when we go to Kirby Cove. It’s refreshing to be vulnerable, to practice bravery in a whole new kind of way. Every one of us knows that we are a safe little bundle of young writers in the woods at night, and secrets prance from our tongues like fireflies. 

After staying up close to all night, I nap right when I get home. But, when I finally wake up, all I want is to go back to Kirby Cove. Next year.