Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 21 - Kid Camp, Day 1

This weekend is kid camp at Smoke Farm.  We have 8 middle school kids and 4 adults under the watchful eye of M.  I arrive early to get in a couple hours of my own artwork before the camp starts.  The wonderful aromatic odors that were in the forest on my last trip are already gone, but the grasses continue to grow and the cottonwoods and maples work overtime to put out new growth.

Once the kids arrive, we hike to the north fields.  High water in the slough gives them a chance to build a temporary log bridge.  They don't need my help, since I actually was an engineer at one time, so I take one of the kids who is standing on the sidelines and I show her how to cast animal tracks with plaster of paris.  The bridge project gives the rest of them a fine opportunity to also get wet, although after dozens of crossings back and forth on the new bridge, it is M, herself, who is the only one to take a dive.

I had spotted the remains of a gable roof in a brush pile in the north fields, and this is the goal for the kids.  They remove the enough brush so that we can pull back some of the rotting roof and peer in.  An old belt driven pump and some pipes show the building to be a collapsed pump house.  Someone pulls enough brush from the upriver side for us to see the old concrete cistern.

A makes an exceptional taco dinner for us all, so that mayhem may ensue until bedtime. 

With clear skies, I find myself sleeping under the stars, looking at pinpoints of light, light that has taken 10 or 100 years to reach me.  It is a humbling experience.  We are so small in what is a true and vast wilderness.  To think that not a million Earths, nor a million solar systems would fill the space between any two of those pinpoints of light.  I find myself thinking that those that aspire to try to lead our world would be well advised to spend a significant amount of time sleeping under the stars.

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