I just returned from thirteen days of heaven on earth a.k.a. camping at North of Highland Campground in North Truro, MA (near the tip of Cape Cod).
One of the things I most love about camping is the lack of interruptions and distractions.
Life is distilled down to basics — and things like TV and America’s Got Talent and Netflix and Orange Is the New Black simply disappear from one’s awareness.
I did not speak with anyone via the telephone.
There was no internet tempting me to visit Facebook or Linked In.
I had no emails reminding me each day about a deeply discouraging array of horrible things happening all over planet earth which I could possibly help by signing a petition and/or donating money.
I listened to no radio.
I read very few magazines (mostly back issues of The New Yorker).
I received no snail mail full of solicitations from environmental defense organizations and prograssive lobbying groups and hard-working political candidates.
Instead I savored the rain and the sun.
And wind in the pine trees overhead.
And random sounds of fellow campers in the distance — sometimes the beep of a car with keys left in the ignition, sometimes the cry of a small child having an emotional melt down.
This year we arrived at the peak of blueberry abundance.
Little scrubby bushes which in past summers might have offered a few berries were now covered with them.
Each morning before the sun became too hot, I picked a mug-full to eat — first with oatmeal and then as an anti-oxidant treat throughout the rest of the day.
Some bushes had small berries, and others were loaded with whoppers.
On the morning of our departure, I picked one final mug’s worth to bring home to Arlington, and I am eating the last of them as I type this entry.
Yum for summer!
At first I was concerned that I might be depriving the local wild life of much-needed sustenance.
One morning I watched a small red squirrel pick blueberries, climb up on a small tree stump to eat them, climb down to pick more, climb back up to eat more until she or he apparently had eaten their fill and frisked off into the trees.
But that was the only animal consumption I witnessed.
And I saw many wrinkled, older berries on the ground under the bushes — so plenty of them were ripening and falling to the ground untouched by anyone.
I decided it was OK to revel in this unexpected, beautiful, delicious gift from mother earth.
And there were many berries I did not manage to pick and eat when we left our camp site…
Maybe the two wild turkeys we saw as we were packing up camp would return to savor them?
This morning I was given a link to a slide show that a father had put together to play at the memorial service for his four-year-old son, who had died as a result of complications after an unsuccessful heart transplant operation.
This radiant little being was a student of a fellow Music Together (MT) teacher, and she had reached out via Facebook to a bunch of MT teachers when he was about to go into surgery so that we might pray for him and his family and his caregivers.
Despite the massive amounts of time Aiden had spent in hospitals during his short, sweet life, he was able to stomp in rain puddles and play at the beach and attend Music Together classes with his parents.
Apparently he loved singing and dancing — and his parents included several MT songs as part of his slide show and memorial service.
From the slide show I could see how loved he was by his extended family.
And as a result of watching it, I brought an aching awareness of love and loss with me to my Music Together class this morning — and did my best to welcome and celebrate each being who came though the door.
The song at the beginning of this post was written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty for a musical called A Man Of No Importance.
I recorded it with Doug Hammer playing piano and Mike Callahan playing horn several years ago as part of my “Will Loves Steve” show — which featured songs written or co-written by people named Steve or Stephen or Stevie.
For me it captures some of the poignance of being a loving human here on planet earth.
Thank you for reading and listening!