i’m not sure if this was my fourth year or my fifth year of having the joy of being part of the annual camp at skeppsgården in sweden, but it doesn’t really matter. every year is exactly the same and completely different all at the same time. it’s very much like my reynolds family beach week tradition that my family in the states has had for about 29 years now.
the camp at skeppsgården was started many many years ago by the methodist church in sweden, and it is a place available for people to come and enjoy the simplicity and beauty of the swedish archipelago (islands by the sea) and the beauty of gathering with friends & family year after year. lina’s grandfathers, both methodist ministers like my grandfather, were a part of beginning this week-long tradition of renting the camp for their congregations and friends/family year ago, and the tradition and been passed on and carried down by lina’s parents and family.
skeppsgården, for lina, is that thing that has been a constant in her life for as long as she can remember (she was only 6 weeks old when she at tented her first week in 1984). and while i’ve only been a part of it for 4 or 5 years, i feel that history and connection, and i can understand it very well, because of my family’s own traditions. so, now i have my family’s beach week tradition of 29 years and lina’s family’s camp tradition – both constants in my life.
it’s so important to have these places and people and times in our lives, i believe. they give us (me) a sense of grounding. a reminder of who we are – and that, even when life changes and moves on, there is a ritual, a sacred space, a certain, special spot that touches our soul like nothing else.
so, skeppsgården has become a place like that for me. my first year there i had no idea what was going on, what people were saying, or anything about anything. it was all so, well, foreign. then, there came a few years that i “worked” the camp, seeing as i was one of the ministers that was to led some of the group discussions/worship services. and this year, after being away from sweden for an entire year, it felt as if i had come home. this year, skeppsgården was my home. i now have my own traditions, feelings, memories, and special places that are tucked away in my heart. i know the people, i can speak the language. what i am saying is, this place is now a part of me. i am not just a participant or observer, but i belong.
and that, my friends, is amazing. i give thanks, once again, for the beauty of having two places, two countries that i call home.
now, it’s time for me to finally share with you some photos of this magical, beautiful place – where life is simple and easy and all about community. enjoy!
I loved this piece, especially because I’m half-Swedish but have never been to Sweden and know precious little about my heritage there. The photos are lovely and so serene. I included your post in my round-up of “Joyful Reads for the Weekend” today–the link to it is here, if you want to take a look: http://www.joyfullygreen.com/2014/07/joyful-reads-for-the-weekend-vol-27-a-mixed-bag-of-loveliness.html.
Enjoy your time in Sweden! I hope to make it there with my family in the not-too-distant future.
Hello Joy! Thank you so much for commenting and for including my post on your blog! What a great honor! You have a very peaceful, beautiful blog, and i look forward to following you more.
Sweden has been very, very good to me/us – it has been incredibly beautiful, like I’ve never seen it before! I hope that you make it here soon! – Liz
Beautiful. I feel like I’m there. Thanks for bringing me along through this delightful post Liz.
Oh, Gina, you would love the peace and beauty that this place exudes. Thank you so much for your kind comment! xo
[…] we returned from the week we spent at a camp out in the archipelago (click here to see those photos!), it was wedding central here as we prepared for he big day. lina, my wife, was the maid of honor, […]