Once there was a place called “camp.”
When I first drove to camp, I encountered all kinds of wildlife down the long driveway. I thought the barn-like outbuilding garage to the french-style main house was for rent, but the gentleman took me along around the house, down a fieldstone path, down 40 steps to a 700 square foot boathouse with a 7×25 porch overlooking a crystal clear lake. “Camp” rocked.
It was called “camp” so that I didn’t mind the spiders so much.
About a month after I moved in (a place where I answered the phone, ‘paradise, may I help you?’) my back went out. As in I heard a pop and the next time i sat down I had no movement from the waist down. (I am literally, just now, noticing this pattern of my body full-on shutting down to get me to slow down. I thought this current thing was the first time. It never is.) I got real slow real fast, and got to stay employed and working from home – the most beautiful home I could imagine – actually it sortof burst my idea of joy in place wide open. I’d had some fine places before, but this was the cream of the crop.
So, the summer of 1999, I was very slow. I sat. A lot. I also walked the driveway 3 times, 2x per day. The driveway up past the pine grove, the orchard, the gardens, the meadow, the bees…. Sorry. Reverie.
Camp taught me how to sit happily. I was in wonderment of the place every. single. day.
Then life got started up again, and I went back to work, always with my scrappy little attitude. I kinda honored my body and needs, and kinda drank too much, and kinda operated from a series of belief systems that didn’t really serve me. I met Tucker and started this adventure, and essentially moved on thinking my need to be slow had passed with the surgery and recovery. Life got busy.
Now I see many ways to introduce slowing down into the moments we’re already experiencing. This need to be slow lets me see opportunities to get to slow even in the transitions between activities, and even within the activities themselves.
Being slow at camp is a cherished part of my development. A really beautiful place to be. I wish I had fully internalized the lesson – i think my kids’ early lives would’ve been a lot more dynamic. Alas, I’m super happy to be slow now. I’m super happy to be talking about being slow. I’m super happy to think about it, to reflect on just. how. much. richness. it brings to my daily life and experience. how gentle it makes the hard spots.
Oh, so this post was going to be about sitting on the porch at camp. It’s an iconic image in my mind.
And when pain comes to visit me, whether emotional or physical, I never avoid it. I invite it in. and then we go through the house and sit on the porch. Me and the pain. Present to each other. In a safe and comfortable space. Sometimes there is smoking. Sometimes lemonade. Sometimes there is talking, but remarkably rarely. it’s not quite camp, but i don’t know what the ‘vista’ is, but it’s every bit a vista, and me and my pain just sit there. together.