Tuesday, March 29, 2011
A Time to Retreat
This past weekend I went back to camp.
As a kid I started going to camp around age 9. First 4-H Camp Shehequa, later Methodist Camp Penn, some years both, but always camp was great. To be outside, to be pushed just gently outside your comfort zone, to make new friends and try new things was a wonderful thing as a child.
I loved it so much I stayed - first as a junior counselor, then a senior counselor, then as director. When I aged out of that, I just moved from the front of the mess hall, making the announcements to the campers, to the back, where I cooked their meals and ordered the food.
Hey, it paid for my books in college and kept me living temporarily on that beautiful Pocono mountain.
But all good things come to an end, and when Melissa Taylor invited her Made to Crave girls to Camp Harrison for a Women's Wellness Weekend, I was ready!
I traveled there with my mom and a good friend, and we made camping memories once again. On our way to the opening bonfire, where the provided boas were the recommended attire, we clowned around by the pool.
There's just something about a good bonfire and s'mores that's totally relaxing! The big open sky always reminds me of Who's in charge.
After an early wake-up call Saturday morning, a bunch of us hiked to the waterfall, an interesting climb complicated by the several streams that you have to cross - sans bridge - to get there. This one looks tiny, but I'd guess it to be at about 12 feet high. It was very impressive at 7 AM!
Later, we joined Melissa Taylor and her friends for a hike up the Overlook Trail, a mile-long hike to the top of the mountain. We definitely got some exercise ...
and even with the cloud cover, we had a great view of the valley!
I haven't been in a canoe since I was 4 years old, and although my mom's dad was quite the fisherman, she hadn't handled a canoe in years - so we decided to tackle it. We laughed ourselves silly learning how to maneuver the paddles and worried a cucumber-cool counselor when we headed straight for the pier, but we figured it out. It was loads of fun - and the pier remained intact!
I even had the chance to do things I hadn't done since my own camping days. Camp Harrison has a very tall double zipline, and while I used to be certified on our own course at Shehequa, this one was MUCH taller. It was scary, but it still felt good to strap on that harness and brave the ropes. (Although if I hadn't done a zipline before, I don't think anything would've convinced me to jump off that tower!)
But besides being just plain fun, there were lots of small blessings all around camp ...
The wild crocuses blooming randomly in the forest ...
The signs placed all over camp, even in the middle of the woods, drawing my mind back to the Creator who made it all.
My very first horse riding lesson. It was bareback! Well, except for the saddle blanket, but it kept sliding around, so let's not count that. It was actually an EquiFitness lesson. Who knew you could do Pilates on horseback? I'll never view a sit-up the same way again!
I'm not sure what this little guy was doing up there - or even what he's standing on - but it must've been a hoot to see him climbing up there. I laughed just noticing his accomplishment.
Sometimes, as a stay-at-home mom, it feels as if the work's never done. As if there's never time to play, time to relax, as if someone always needs something and there's another deadline always looming. But for two days this weekend, there were no deadlines, no laundry, not even a dependable alarm. Cell service was spotty and rain was minimal. The mountain beckoned.
So today, I'm grateful for Camp Harrison and Melissa Taylor. Grateful to get away and hear grounded Christian messages. Grateful for the chance to be adventuresome again, for the chance to be a kid again, for the chance to laugh myself silly in a tiny boat in front of an audience full of ducks. I'm grateful for not falling off my horse and grateful for the chance to ride when it looked impossibly wet.
I love my life here at home, but even Jesus escaped His daily grind and went fishing! I'm happy for this weekend's chance to do the same. :-)
Join us for GratiTuesday at Heavenly Homemakers!