First one up, so the camp is still quiet. It’s cool in the morning. Slip out of the tent to the leader’s chuck box and get the stove going. Fill the coffee pot and set it to perk, then walk over to the latrine.
By 0615, the smell of fresh coffee is coming from the pot, you turn it down and wait for a few minutes, then pour a cup. Sit down in a chair by the leader’s desk and look at the day’s schedule. The birds flit around above you, trilling their songs. When you look up, the sun is filtering through the trees.
The sky is clear and there is just a hint of mist rising where the sunlight is causing the dew to evaporate. It’s a few minutes to appreciate your life, to look back at all the mornings you had in camp, and add this one to the list.
A minute or so before 0700 you ease back to your tent to wake up your assistant. He’s an old Marine, and he’s still snoring. You wait. The hiss of the speakers coming to life let’s you time it. You grab the bottom of his cot, pick it up about six inches and drop it as the first note plays.
“Sarge, hey SARGE! Wake up, the coffee’s ready! What are you doing sleeping the day away?” He sits straight up as Reveille sounds across the campsites, then realizes where he is and takes the cup you’re holding out. He shakes his head, “Pay you will, just you wait, nasty little payback when you least expect it.”
“Hey, not bad, you even look like Gollum when you wake up.”
Tent flaps flip back and Scouts crawl out like zombies, moving slowly in the light. The Troop needs to leave the site to be at the dining hall for Flag ceremony in 45 minutes. There’s no sign of stirring in the SPL’s tent, so you head that way. The early coolness is already giving way to the July sun. It’s reveille, and camp has come to life.
I have a “carpe diem” mug and, truthfully, at six in the morning the words do not make me want to seize the day. They make me want to slap a dead poet.