Lesson in the Woods

While Kate traveled with our middle son to a college visit recently, I took over the enjoyable task of walking camp dog Maverick. Not too far from our home sits a relatively new network of paths through a beautiful wood. Being a lovely Saturday morning, we took a field trip to the trails. Little did I know it would lead to a lesson.

The trails had been laid out by a family wanting to leave a positive impact. It wound through the woods, across and alongside streams, under a patchwork canopy of beautiful leaves for just under 3 miles.

But the path itself… there are stumps and rocks and roots. After stumbling a few times while watching Maverick bound around, I realized it was important to pay attention to on the path itself. That’s when I ran into the spider webs….

I’m not talking about little spiders and simple little webs. The newly arrived Jurro spiders are really something and their webs like to stick. (They look a lot more dangerous than they are….)

Against Me? Nope….

The stumps, the rocks, the webs, the spiders… for a moment, it felt like everything on this beautiful trail was out to get me. But, as Mav rollicked by me, I realized all those things had nothing to do with me. If I wanted to make it out of the woods safely, I needed to pay attention to the path and what was around it. But if I wanted to enjoy the experience, I needed to take some time to look around and enjoy the scenery, the leaves and the dog.

So how does one do both? I think it’s by accepting that, as we walk along a beautiful path, there are going to be bumps and bruises, a few spider webs and maybe even a tree branch you run into. Those things aren’t out to get you. They weren’t traps set just for you. They were simply the result of sharing this world with all of the plants and creatures and nature itself.

As many with many things, this reminded me about camp. Camp is BEAUTIFUL. Sly Lake glistens, the trees are tall, the grass green and the bunks comfortable. And, sometimes, you get bumped into in the Dining Hall and your food plops to the floor. You get a great note from home that actually makes you miss home a bit more than it props you up. Or, try as you might, you can’t quite master getting the wakeboard under your feet.   

Your Choice

Do these (very natural) setbacks take away from the beauty and joy of the experience of being at camp? They can… if you let them. However, if you realize these things are ‘not out to get you’ but rather simply the small bumps that you’ll inevitably get when experiencing camp (or school or working or… life!), you’ll be able to take more moments to look around and enjoy it all.

Remember, in a beautiful walk through the woods, you may stumble on a root or have spider web or two clinging to your shoulders. That’s ok. Those just add to the experience of a beautiful journey. We should be grateful for these little bumps and reminders!

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