I know that I haven’t been around a lot lately. I don’t know why, but I know that I’m back right now. A lot has happened – Jer got sick, we fell behind, I finished knitting a new pair of socks, our phone died, things started growing and blooming like mad, it started raining, our neighbours’ goat had babies, we went to the first market of the year, friends came for the weekend, the BC election went up in smoke – you know, the usual, but I’m not going to do an update post because that’s not really my style.
I went to Strathcona Park Lodge last week with my students. I spent a lot of time at Camp Chief Hector , near Calgary, when I was growing up, and I knew a number of people from Hector who had continued their Outdoor Education lifestyle at the Lodge. Hector was really important to me – I spent weeks there when I was in high school, as a counsellor for grade 5 and 6 students. I spent weekends there during the year working with moms and children who were living in homes in Calgary. I spent time there every summer. I learned about myself, about the earth, about others. I learned a lot about group dynamics and how people act differently in stressful situations. I learned how to canoe, how to kayak, how to rock climb, how to hike. I learned how to pack a backpack, how to tie a knot, how to set up camp, how to hang a bear hang. Camp was instrumental in building my character. I knew that being in an environment that was very different but employed many of the same people would probably bring about some nostalgia. I didn’t realize the extent of it.
Being at the Lodge made me a little wanderlusty. It made me miss my 20s. It made me miss the camp craziness, whether it be from Hector, tree-planting, or somewhere else. I miss the youthful energy, the fanciful freedom, the mountains and rivers and forests. These feelings were exacerbated when I was told that the job I was feeling confident about for next year fell through, and now I’m worrying about not having a job…
I came home and shared these feelings with Jer – he has a much different feeling about summer camp (he went once and didn’t like it much) and about treeplanting (same as above). Maybe it’s the group dynamics, maybe it’s the food or the sleepless nights or the noise… camp has never been his favourite place. This isn’t to say he doesn’t love to camp (heck – he’s the one who spends every day, all day, outside with his hands in the dirt), but that there’s something about CAMP itself that isn’t him. He gets it though – he knows that I’ve got crazy in me that he doesn’t have and that’s one of the reasons we work. He figures that working 5 days a week, and commuting off of the island every one of those days is beating the crazy out of me, and it’s not making me happy. We also talked about getting a trailer so that we could start bringing in WWOOFers in an attempt to get some of that crazy back (I can see our ad now – Please apply if you shave your facial hair into ridiculous moustaches, or appreciate the men in your life who do. Only people whose favourite holiday is Halloween are appropriate). And I’ll keep applying for jobs, and maybe I’ll find one that’s not full time, and I can spend a little more time being crazy, or at least being whole in the mountains.
So I came back from camp a little sad, a lot nostalgic, and a little nervous about how to go forward from here. Now that a couple of days have gone by, and we had our first farmer’s market of the year (which was a blast and where I felt supported and understood by my community), we visited with friends from Victoria who made me laugh hard, we swam in our lake, we missed the birthday party of a lovely friend which we’ll make up soon, and we visited with our neighbours who make living on a little road on a little island the best, we have an idea about where we’re going, and I’m comfortable about the choices we’ll make to get there.