Snapshot of Last Year’s Summer Camp

Posted on March 25, 2011

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Whenever you return from a trip, especially an enjoyable one, there is a sort of suspension from reality. Some part of your brain refuses to let go of the memories of the moments that have recently passed while another layer of your consciousness nudges you to step into the present. Before I place the first load of laundry and wash away the images of the scenic lake, the squeals of liquid delight, and the warm colors of close conversations with friends and strangers, I want to capture it in words.

The camp was composed of a few cabins on the shore of a lake. The facilities were excellent and the staff friendly and helpful. During the three day camp we listened to some very insightful lectures and participated in various outdoor activities. There was a family basketball shoot-out and an intriguing little game for couples. I am sure many men realized that they had no idea what size shoes their wives wore!

Like chameleons we changed colors as we baked in the searing July sun and went swimming, canoeing and kayaking. The reflected pale blue light vanished from the faces of our children and they looked like they had forever lived in the outdoors. I did not see a single child with a Nintendo, a PSP or a game boy robotically punching buttons while others watched on with eyes glazed. The mesmerizing beauty of the vast sky reflected in the still waters of the lake temporarily broke the spell of all the screens that have enraptured our children. They could not help but jump out of pontoons into 25-foot lakes and row kayaks flipped over just for fun. They followed bear paw prints and actually saw one dig in a trash can and carry food into the jungle. They collected medals for many of the competitive activities by the light of a campfire.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to try my hand at archery. I have a renewed admiration for the Native Americans that shot arrows as they rode on their horses and I am sure Robin Hood cheated… maybe he had a laser device! It was a pleasure to try a new activity and to discover that with a little practice it is always possible to learn.

The most magical moment of the camp was my encounter with three Sandhill Cranes. These slender, grey birds with crimson foreheads and deep tangerine colored eyes stand around four feet tall. They materialized out of the scenery and strolled over to us. They stood, completely unafraid, and watched as if with idle curiosity.  They came closer, cocking their heads to one side and another, and then just moved on and silently disappeared into the lush greenery. Ah, those humans, they must have thought, what odd creatures.

I must return completely to the present now to climb up the ‘Mount NeverRest’ of laundry. The sights and sounds of the trip will wash away but I am determined that, inshallah, in the future I will make time to escape the routines of life to go where my heart can also beat with the pulse of Allah’s creation.

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