2012 April 8
The area we're in here at Lake Whitney Thousand Trails has been filling up since last Thursday. There are lots more kids than we have encountered at any other campground. And they have been keeping me entertained! I can only speak for myself, obviously, but it is good for me to have kids around me.
There is a large group of inter-generational campers occupying the site behind us and to our left, as well as the two nearby cottages and possibly a couple other sites, as well. These campers have approximately 8 kids and they have been so much fun to watch.
I first noticed the kids on Friday evening, when one of the boys, Christopher, was spending time at dusk, building an assortment of stick walls, in the area behind our site. I had been watching him, engrossed in his architectural elements for awhile from our bedroom window. After I shared the pleasure of watching this activity with Raymond, I took Greyla out to pee and that's when I discovered the young boy's name. There was a group of kids, lead by an older girl, calling out, "Christopher!" Turns out, Christopher had forgotten to report his location to his family, and they were out, in force, searching. An adult in a pick up came by and was flagged down by this older girl, and given an update before she once again searched out Christopher, who had gone back into the woods to continue working on his creation.
These kids have been tearing around on their bikes, playing ball, chasing each other, playing with super-soakers, and generally just having fun. They have also brought me a great deal of joy. I don't think I would like being in one of those 55+ communities. It would be too easy for me to become a brittle inflexible old person in a place like that. I know some people prefer that kind of community, but I don't think I'll ever be one of them. It makes me happy to watch kids playing. It reminds me to be open to experiences. It helps me stay centered. I find myself hoping they'll be here all week and not just for the Easter weekend.
The thing that is most stunning to me is how different this experience is from my encounters with kids in our old neighborhood. In Pittsburgh, I cringed when kids played in the parking lot behind our house. I closed my doors to the sounds of the kids as the walked home from Oliver High School. Mostly, because the kids at home were loud, in the extreme, and very often, vulgar.
The kids at this campground have been busy, active and vocal. But they haven't been excessive. Nor have I heard anything even approaching bad language. Not from the kids, nor the adults. They've just been having fun. Some of it, inter-generational fun.
In fairness, maybe being in nature has some mediating effect on noise that doesn't exist in the city. Maybe it has the same effect on people. Whatever the reason for the difference, I'm spending a lovely Resurrection Sunday being grateful for the opportunity to be reminded of what childhood can be. Maybe we need to take some of those urban kids and their parents out into the country. Maybe they too would soften some in tone and action. And maybe they could remember how to have fun. Just a thought.