04 August 2009

Summer time's come and gone, my, oh my!

So tomorrow the girls return from summer camp. They have been away from home for the last six weeks.

It is a bitter sweet return, I think. Camp is an enchanted place, and I am sad that they must leave it and return to the real world with its tensions, and responsibilities, and unpleasantries. Not that camp is devoid of conflict, but for the most part--for my children, I think--even these conflicts partake of magic, and are rather simply resolved and soon forgotten. Head lice and athlete’s foot, leaking roofs and mud-caked shoes are no obstacle to joy. So much which wears us down as adults in this world does not enter into the consciousness of campers at summer camp. Not that it doesn’t exist, but that it is not accepted as present. From the site of extreme joy, why see its other?

And I am saddened that they must leave this idyll. Glad that they do so, but sad that they must.

And I am saddened, too, that we have out here discovered no such island of perfect-enough peace, and that their return will find me unchanged. Or is it me that regrets the failure to have altered. It’s not a lack of growth that I note: I have done my share of reading and writing these summer months. And even discovered a passion or two to carry into the school year. No, it is the lack of change in the very essence of the situation that I regret. Though I am changed and so of course everything is different, too much remains the same. It is not the cliche that the more things change, the more they remain the same: it is that whereas the detail changes, the whole stagnates.

And so I am sad that the fresh air breathed at summer camp becomes the dust-filled atmosphere of daily existence. And the magic of relationships transforms into the difficulties of negotiating life. What a glorious idea to live for at least a summer in Eden.


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