It’s rare to find utmost peace and belonging in a group of people when you don’t know the first thing about their personal life. You see them teaching a younger generation about the things in life they’re most passionate about and there’s peace. You see their struggles, but you only see them because you share them, and there’s belonging. You see a group of people, who have very little in common but so much to offer to the world, and there’s a sense of comfort in their unfamiliar faces. 

I love water, which is incredibly ironic considering I’m 16 years old and can’t swim. I love driving over bridges with the Willamette below me. I especially love teaching curious faces about the beauty and science that the smallest body of water can hold. I love the blue reflection from the sky, but in Oregon, the water-looking mirror gives back a more green return. 

I love new people. I love the first eye lock with their piercing blue eyes that shimmer in the light and in the dark and I love the first smile you get from them. I love seeing people’s eyes light up when they see someone or something they care deeply for. I adore how blue eyes can look green in some lighting and I admire the way the black pupils overpower the blue when they see that one person across the room. 

Everyday I wear blue mascara. I like to think of it as my brand, but I stole this “brand” from someone I look up to, so that seems unfair. I love hearing the words “those blue lashes make your green eyes pop” and I love the surprise people have when they look a little closer than before and point out the colored hairs that lay above my eyelids. I love wiping my tears and there being a bright blue stain on my fingers from it rather than black. 

I don’t love feeling blue, but it is a feeling that is endured often. Saying goodbye, departing. Whether it be forever, or just a little longer than last time. “Feeling blue” is an idiom. An Idiom I don’t care for whatsoever. There is a greater feeling to “feeling blue” than just being sad. I just haven’t figured it out yet.

Blue isn’t even my favorite color. I love the Pacific Northwest greens and the purple that is my duvet. I like the pink on people’s cheeks when they’re blushing even more. But as I meet more blue, I fall more in love with it. You can imagine how I felt when I left reality for a week and  spent a week outside under blue skies. A week in October where the weather was too warm for autumn but a good warmth otherwise. The blue that hung around me all week was intoxicating. From the water that ran blue at every other corner, to the piercing blue eyes of the blonde boy that sat beside me all week, to the blue mascara stains on my skin from the blue feeling that took over when the dreadful goodbyes began. 

On the last morning, I tried my best to capture the comforting feelings that one building brought me. One building in the 500 acres this camp carried. The watershed is where I spent the most time. I changed some kids’ lives there. I laughed my hardest there. I felt my best there. And on that final Friday morning, I sat upon the fence that wrapped it,  I looked out to those blue waters,  wiped my blue eyelashes right off from my subtle sobs, allowed the blue skies that drizzled, lay as a sheet above me, and took in the cool, sigh of that blue feeling that Oregon let out. 

At that moment, I knew that wherever I was, I was accepted, loved, happy, and more fulfilled than ever. That watershed gave me more peace and belonging than one would ever think an old watershed could. Some would say this watershed resembles a second home. And they would be right. Those final minutes in the watershed were all I needed to end my trip with an ounce of peace and belonging.