First things first - there are two people in this picture. I'm the one hanging in the tree. The girl standing next to me in the bright blue one piece is my cousin Amanda. She was my absolute best friend in the world growing up. We are still extremely close, but are not often afforded the opportunity to see each other, since I'm in college up in New England and she has a life and career down in Florida. My cousins in general, though, are my absolute favorite people in the world. I spent my entire childhood growing and playing with them and it has absolutely shaped who I am today.
The second piece - we are in the woods. Well, that isn't really the woods. Its more of a patch of a few trees near a lake. More specifically, near Camp. Camp is the name of the lake house my grandparents own in Upstate New York. It is where I spent my summers and the place I really call home (I've moved 7 times, and this has been the only constant). Camp is the inspiration for this blog.
Third, I'm a hot mess. Except without the hot part. My hair is a mess, I'm wearing an Esmerelda t-shirt (appropriate for the love of Disney I have carried into my twenties) and I'm wearing jorts and boat shoes. BOAT SHOES PEOPLE. My mother was an absolute worry wart. See Amanda in her bare feet? Yeah, that just about sums it up.
See that string roped around that tree? That was a tiny piece of an enormous and intricate network of ropes with baskets on them that connected each of my cousins' trees to the others. We would pass notes, cool leaves, really anything back and forth from our trees. We would hide from the adults and we would pretend we lived in the woods...that is until we had to use the bathroom.
This picture absolutely and accurately describes my live up until the age of about 15. Summers were spent carelessly wasting time in the woods with my cousins, making up games and swinging on the hammock, building bonfires and going tubing on the back of the boat. We would go fishing and scream for the adults when we finally snagged a tiny little perch. We'd come running down the lawn, onto the dock, and throw ourselves into the lake with a bottle of shampoo for our daily showers. There was absolutely nothing better. So this blog is about getting back to that. Now the 4th of July is really the only time that we as cousins get to descend on Camp all at once. Amanda and Mike come up from Florida, Sammi comes over from Western NY, Haley Sydney and I come up from New Hampshire, Dayne comes up from Albany and Zach just pops over (he's the only one who lives within an hour). It is the time when we try to go back to how those feelings of just not caring about anything else but being at the lake. All year I dream about being up north in July, for the 4th of July. So there you go, that's why this blog has such a peculiar name. Up North Of July - it conveys every feeling I could want to convey about Camp and the constant desire to drop everything and get up there. Its both a place and a time. More than that, its a feeling.