Saturday, August 13, 2011

Travelling Insights

Once and a while, going away affords new perspectives and inspiring thoughts.

             We have just returned from a lovely camping adventure in Virginia's Fairy Stone Park.  While there we enjoyed gentle breezes, sunny skies, a cool fresh water lake, funny stories, laughter, ice cream, hot dogs and toasted marshmallows.  On the afternoon of our second day, a group of families with 10 children under age seven arrived.  Elliot enjoyed making new friends and sharing the freedom to run, bike and play spies.  At night while the orange flames of campfires danced, children wearing headlamps ran giggling through the trees.  While viewing this delightful sight of uninhibited joy, I thought they must be magic firefly children.

     Just as we were feeling sleepy, a thunderstorm arrived, bringing gentle rain to douse the fires. Elliot reluctantly came in, anticipating the morning with his new friends.  While he slept and we dozed in our sleeping bags, a terrible sound cracked the quiet night with its gently falling rain.  A child had fallen into a campfire and burned his hand.  We prayed in our tents as he kept wailing in agony.  We all felt helpless and sad.  After an hour, we wondered why they had not taken the child to ER.  In the guise of a trip to the bathroom, we approached the scene.  The child was being cared for by two doctors and a nurse who were part of the group. After another hour, they decided that the boy could not be comforted and finally took him to the hospital. 
Afterwards the campers next to us complained loudly about a missing flip flop.  When I finally fell into a fitful, uncomfortable sleep, I was awakened by Emily, who said that her side of the tent was under water and could I make room for her on the air mattress.  I spent most of the night like a crayon shoved in an overfilled box.

     Today I'm a little sleepy and recovering from our adventure. The neighbor's loud complaint about an insignificant flip flop so soon after after the sound of a child suffering intense pain has stuck in my mind. 

  I've decided to leave my annoying, neurotic fears and stop complaining about inconsequential things like aging or what to do in my professional life. 

     While we were camping, I also felt a new feeling that the universe is friendly.  I realized that in the past I have invested a great deal of time imaging that things will be much worse than they actually are.

In that spirit I'm making plans to teach a writer/illustrator workshop for home schooled children at the local YMCA.  Once I've made the lesson plans for an eight week course, I plan to reserve a classroom at the Y and to advertise.

As part of the course, students will enter a writing contest that is sponsored by our PBS station, which also hosts an awards ceremony for all participants.  This ceremony takes place at Great Wolf Lodge and includes a free admission for the writer and their family to the water park. I have a vision that long after the course is finished and the stories submitted, the children and their families will gather as a group for this event.

I've decided that it's time to teach my first real class and expand what I've begun in our home.

I've also decided to regularly contribute items for the etsy shop.  Elliot suggested that we make furry slipper paws.  Since he thought of this fantastic idea, I intend to pay him for every set of slippers we sell.    

Thank you so much for your recent visits and kind comments.  I enjoyed coming home to your happy words of encouragement!

Photo by Elliot Hoppins

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